Austin Nola plays catcher, shortstop, and second base, and he was drafted three times before signing. He just completed his seventh season in the Miami Marlins minor league system.
Throughout the 2018/2019 offseason, Marlin Maniac will devote one article each for every player who appeared in the Miami Marlins system for the 2018 season. Every. Single. Player. This is Part 172 of 286. For the first 100, click here.
Austin Kyle Nola was a 6′, 195 lb. shortstop when drafted out of LSU. Born on December 28th, 1989 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, he was first chosen back in 2009, in the 48th round by the Colorado Rockies.
The Toronto Blue Jays tried to get him with a 31st round pick after his junior season in 2011, but he returned to the Tigers to complete his college eligibility. In four years of Division I ball, he slashed .296/.387/.425, with 14 home runs and 155 RBI. The Miami Marlins spent a fifth round pick on him in 2012, with the 167th overall choice, and he signed for a $75,000 bonus.
Austin’s brother, Aaron, finished third in the National League Cy Young Award vote in 2018, and Austin would like nothing better than to join him in the major leagues. Players chosen 167th overall wind up in the majors 12 percent of the time, led by 18-year veteran second baseman Willie Randolph.
Austin split his first professional season between the short-season-A Jamestown Jammers in the New York-Penn League and the Greensboro Grasshoppers in the middle-A South Atlantic League in 2012. After putting up a .211/.305/.268 slashline in 65 games, he was moved up to the high-A Jupiter Hammerheads in 2013.
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Nola led the Hammerheads with 124 games played that year, with a .232/.331/.308 line and a team-best 40 RBI. He also led the team with 54 walks, 92 strikeouts, and 12 sacrifice hits. In 2014 with the double-A Jacksonville Suns, he paced the team with 134 games played, 595 plate appearances, 499 at bats, 129 hits, and 77 walks. Nola slashed .259/.368/.327 that year, still playing mostly shortstop.
From 2015 through last season, Nola played a lot for both the Jacksonville Suns/Jumbo Shrimp and the triple-A New Orleans Zephyrs/Baby Cakes. He appeared in 123 more games at double-A and 272 games at the triple-A level. While with New Orleans, he has totaled a .264/.333/.359 line while making the gradual transition to full-time catcher. Here’s Nola taking some cuts, courtesy of Baseball Census:
Defensively last season, Nola racked up a .988 fielding percentage in 573 innings behind the plate, with a 37 percent kill rate on runners trying to steal. He had multiple hits in 14-of-69 games in 2018, with three three-hit affairs.
Nola elected free agency on November 2nd, and is free to sign with any major league organization.
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