Three Players To Keep An Eye On As Trade Season Approaches And Two To Avoid

Detroit Tigers v Chicago White Sox
Detroit Tigers v Chicago White Sox / Quinn Harris/GettyImages
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Aaron Nola
Philadelphia Phillies v New York Mets / Mike Stobe/GettyImages

Name to monitor: Aaron Nola

Another former World Series foe finds his way onto the list. The Phillies somehow didn't come to terms with Aaron Nola on a contract extension before the season began, offering him a deal well below market value.

The Phillies, though a World Series team last season that made substantial upgrades in their bullpen and at shortstop with the signing of Trea Turner, are off to a dreadful start this season.

Show of hands, who had the Cincinnati Reds ahead of the Phillies in the standings over one-third of the way through the season? If the Phillies don't turn it around as the deadline looms, might they do the unthinkable and shop Nola? If so, the Astros should be the first to call. Maybe Dana Brown can even kickstart that conversation.

Nola's counting stats are bad this season with a 4.70 ERA. That said, it's a result of plenty of bad luck. His WHIP is only 1.13 and his xERA is 3.81. His hard-hit rate is in the 70th percentile, but it's his strikeout rate that has done a number on him. Last year Nola had a 29.1% strikeout rate. This year the number has dropped to 21.5%.

According to his Statcast arsenal, Nola's fastball lived higher and tighter in the zone last season. He's thrown it lower in the zone and more on the outside edge this season. This could be the reason he's not experienced the success he has in years passed.

Could Nola undergo a JV-esque shift this season and throw his fastball more up in the zone again to great success in Houston?

The Phillies appear to be going nowhere fast. Surely they won't let Nola walk for nothing. The Astros make total sense as a deadline rental. If they are to land another starter, Aaron Nola should be their target.