I'm with you, Phillies Twitter account.
— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) January 29, 2018
This tweet was in response to MLB Network omitting Aaron Nola this week from its list of the top 22 starting pitchers in baseball.
Obviously, the Phils are biased. But I'm with them on this one. How is Alex Wood on this list ahead of Nola? How is Rich Hill, who starts like 15 games per season, ahead of Nola? James Paxton??? The guy who, before 2017, never exceeded 20 starts in any year?
We could play the disrespect card, but I honestly think MLB Network forgot about Nola.
Don't believe me? First, the numbers.
Nola: 60 career starts - 3.94 ERA - 9.4 K/9 - 2.4 BB/9
Paxton: 74 career starts - 3.28 ERA - 8.7 K/9 - 2.7 BB/9
Wood: 3.40 ERA - 8.0 K/9 - 2.6 BB/9 last three seasons
Severino: 64 career games - 3.58 ERA - 9.7 K/9 - 2.7 BB/9
Yes, Nola has the highest ERA of the bunch, mostly because of his poor 2016 - which involved a season-ending injury. He also has a 3.33 xFIP, an ERA estimator that removes defense from the equation.
Nola also has the lowest walk rate of this group, the highest groundball rate and the second-highest strikeout rate. His 10.0 percent swinging strike rate is higher than Wood's.
You'd think too, that Nola's historically dominant 10-start stretch from June 22 to Aug. 12 would add to his case. During that span, he became the first Phillies starting pitcher ever to go at least six innings and allow two runs or fewer in 10 straight starts.
Know who else never did that? Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling, Sandy Koufax, John Smoltz, Tom Glavine, Warren Spahn, Nolan Ryan, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Max Scherzer, and countless others.
And even if the Network was looking past numbers and just at pure stuff, Nola has some of the sickest movement of any pitcher in baseball. A biting, knee-buckling curveball ... a two-seamer that dances back in against righties and away from lefties. Your guess is as good as mine. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯