Ranking the top 3 SF Giants starting pitching targets by SO/W ratio
2. Aaron Nola - 4.49 SO/W ratio
On the surface, Aaron Nola does not feel like a Giants target. He has been connected to teams like the Texas Rangers, St. Louis Cardinals, and the incumbent Philadelphia Phillies. That said, based on this stat, he is one of the top options available.
While Nola excelled in terms of SO/W rate, the 2023 campaign was an uncharacteristically down year for the veteran pitcher. He tallied a 4.46 ERA, 4.03 FIP, 1.15 WHIP, 9.4 K/9, and a 4.49 SO/W rate across 193.2 innings for the Phillies. His 1.5 HR/9 rate was much higher than his career mark of 1.1 HR/9. Nevertheless, he has a track record of success and durability, so these numbers are not expected to depress his market or projected contract all that much.
Despite the down numbers, Nola has typically been able to record a healthy number of strikeouts (10.0 K/9) while limiting walks (2.3 BB/9). He has a pitch mix that includes a low 90's fastball with a curveball, changeup, and sinker. The fastball velocity plays up due to above-average extension on his release point,
On the other hand, the curveball has always been tough pitch for opposing hitters. It not only gets swinging strikes within the zone, but hitters often chase out of the zone against it a lot as well.
The 30-year-old pitcher has made at least 32 starts in each of the last five full seasons. You just do not find that type of durability in today's game. However, prospective teams might also be weary of the fact that he has thrown over 1,400 innings in the majors. He is 29th among active pitchers in innings pitched while also being several years younger than every pitcher in front of him. This is a sign of a heavy workload on an annual basis, which is commendable but it could give teams cause for concern.
The Phillies issued Nola a qualifying offer, which he is expected to reject. This means that if the Giants do sign him, it would result in the loss of a draft pick. It has been nearly 10 years since the Giants have signed a player who rejected a qualifying offer.