Austin Nola

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Austin Kyle Nola

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Biographical Information[edit]

Austin Nola began his professional career in 2012. originally an infielder, he was converted to catcher starting in the Arizona Fall League in 2016 and reached the major leagues as a catcher with the Seattle Mariners in 2019. His brother is pitcher Aaron Nola.

He was originally drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the 48th round of the 2008 amateur draft, a few picks ahead of pitcher Rob Scahill, but opted not to sign. He was then taken by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 31st round of the 2011 amateur draft, but again did not sign. He inked a contract after being drafted by the Miami Marlins in the fifth round of the 2012 amateur draft. The scout was Mark Willoughby.

He reached 100+ hits for the first time in 2014, batting .259/.368/.327 with 129 knocks in 134 games for the Jacksonville Suns. In 2015, he reached Triple-A for the first time, batting .280/.355/.343 with no home runs and 18 RBI in 61 games for the New Orleans Zephyrs. He struggled with the Suns earlier in the season and batted .242/.316/.309 on the year as a whole.

In his first taste of the majors in 2019, he hit .269 in 79 games, with 10 homers and 31 RBIs, for an OPS+ of 115. He played mainly first base - 59 games, making him the player who saw the most action at the position for the Mariners that year - but also appeared 15 times at second base, 7 at catcher, 4 at third base, and twice in the outfield, in both left and right field. In 2020, however, the Mariners made him their starting catcher at the start of the season and he responded well as he hit .306 with 5 homers and 19 RBIs over his first 29 games. His OPS+ was an outstanding 150, and at 30, with the Mariners going nowhere and looking to build for the future, he was a perfect trade chip. On August 30th, he was a key part of a seven-player trade with the San Diego Padres, as he headed to southern California alongside Ps Austin Adams and Dan Altavilla in return for IF Ty France, P Andres Munoz, C Luis Torrens and IF Taylor Trammell. The Padres also acquired C Jason Castro that day, as they replaced the tandem of Torrens and Austin Hedges that was batting a paltry .146 for the season. He batted .222 in 19 games for San Diego, finishing the year at .273 with 7 homers and 28 RBIs in 48 games and an OPS+ of 129. In the postseason, he was shut out in 8 at-bats in the Wild Card Series against the St. Louis Cardinals, although that obscures the fact that he also drew three walks, hit a pair of sacrifice flies and scored 2 runs. In the Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, he went 2 for 9 with 1 RBI as the Padres were swept in three games.

In 2021, injuries limited him to 56 games, during which he hit .272 with 2 homers and 29 RBIs, for an OPS+ of 101. He missed most of April, all of June and the first half of July. However, he was in the starting line-up when the Padres completely collapsed in the second half, falling out of contention and below .500 for the year. The Padres bounced back in 2022 though, and he was healthy again, matching his games total from the previous season by the end of June. On June 24th, he managed to get a hit off his brother Aaron, pitching for the Philadelphia Phillies, for the first time of his career. They had played in the same game for the first time the year before, with Aaron striking out Austin on three pitches in his only at-bat, but the next meeting was different. Austin smacked a hit to right field to drive in the only run of the game in a 1-0 Padres win.

Further Reading[edit]

  • AJ Cassavell: "Bro! Austin Nola's 1st hit off brother Aaron is a game-winner", mlb.com, June 25, 2022. [1]

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