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Phillies promote Aaron Nola

The Aaron Nola era has arrived in Philadelphia.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

After dominating minor league hitters for the last year or so, the Phillies have decided that last year's No. 1 draft pick is ready.

The Aaron Nola era is now officially underway.

General manager Ruben Amaro had been hinting that Nola was going to get a promotion after the All Star Break, and thus, it has come to pass. Nola had posted terrific numbers during his brief minor league career, going 4-3 with a 2.93 ERA in 12 games (11 starts) last season for Clearwater and Reading.

This season he made 12 starts at Double-A Reading where he went 7-3 with a 1.88 ERA, striking out 6.9 batters per nine and walking just 1.1. He was promoted to Triple-A Lehigh where he went 3-1 with a 3.58 ERA in six starts, striking out 33 in 32 2/3 innings while walking just nine.

That Lehigh line includes a clunker in his final outing for the Iron Pigs in which he failed to get out of the fourth inning and gave up six runs. It is really the only start in his minor league career in which he was roughed up.

Nola is one of the best young pitching prospects in the game. In their midseason rankings, Baseball America had Nola as the 12th best prospect in baseball, while ESPN's Keith Law had him 38th.

And if Nola is called up on Tuesday and not sent down again this season, he will not reach Super Two status and will be under team control through the 2021 season.

Make no doubt, the Phils need Nola. Even with Cole Hamels still in the fold, the Phillies are running out the worst starting rotation in baseball. They are dead last in fWAR from their starters (1.5), are 29th in ERA (5.00), 30th in BB/9 (3.61), 29thth in WHIP (1.50), and 30th in batting average against (a whopping .290).

If Nola turns out to be a decent big league player, it will be the first time they've been able to get anything out of one of their first round draft picks in the last 10 years.

In a piece I did for numberFire just before the MLB Draft, I compiled a list of how every team has done with their first round picks since 2005. Of all 30 Major League teams, the Phillies were the only ones with a cumulative sub-replacement level performance, at -0.6 fWAR. Those first rounders include such luminaries as Larry Greene, Zach Collier, Anthony Hewitt, Joe Savery, Adrian Cardenas and Kyle Drabek. Travis d'Arnaud has a nice future in front of him, but for another team, and the jury is still out on Jesse Biddle. But 2013's first round pick, J.P. Crawford, looks like a star, ranked as the 2nd best prospect in baseball by ESPN's Law.

But Crawford isn't here yet. Nola is. And the hope is that last year's 7th overall pick in the draft can help make Phillies baseball somewhat watchable again, at least every fifth day or so, in the second half of the season.