Born: 11/22/1991 (Age: 23)
|Height: 6' 3"
|Simple, repeatable delivery; high three-quarters arm slot; tight leg lift; strides slightly towards first; back remains upright during stride, giving him downhill plane on his offerings; average arm speed; consistent arm speed on all offerings; head remains still and focused on the target throughout motion; finishes square and in a good position to field; slight body, room to add weight.
|New Orleans Zephyrs (AAA, Marlins)
|Velocity peaked at 91, but he comfortably sat 89-90 over 64 pitch outing; sinking two-seamer with arm side life; showed ability to move the pitch around the strike zone, though more likely to hit general region than specific location; room to improve command; employs the offering to generate ground balls and weak contact.
|Similar sinking and tailing action as the two-seamer; late drop; spiked a few changeups in the dirt; arm speed stays the same as the fastball, which helps the slight velocity difference play up; generally kept pitch on the outer half to righties; has potential to be a consistent bat-misser if he can spot it better.
|1-7 curve; inconsistent break and depth, slurvy at times, tight with sharp drop at its best; can throw for a strike; likes to use pitch to steal a strike. Not an out pitch against lefties at present.
|Likes to attack righties with cutters on the inner half, prone to leaving pitch in dangerous parts of the strike zone. Good arm speed, average life. Gap in current and future grade reflects consistent inability to stay out of danger spots with the pitch in my viewing.
I clearly saw Nicolino on one of his worst days. He had no feel for the corners, consistently missed in dangerous zones, and was punished repeatedly by mediocre hitters. He allowed three homers and a number of hard hit balls, and was fighting his composure by the end of the outing. There were mitigating circumstances -- travel day, wet weather, poor mound quality -- but he had bad command from the first inning.
Still, there were positives to glean. He's capable of throwing four pitches for strikes, three of which flashed at least average. He also has the right blend of simple mechanics and athleticism to project improvement in his ability to pitch to specific spots in the strike zone. Looking into the future, he fits best as an innings eating No. 5 or a swingman who can throw multiple innings out of the bullpen. His arsenal isn't designed to attack lefties specifically -- the changeup is his best offering and it keeps lefties honest -- and he'll be at his most valuable over longer stretches, instead of as a LOOGY or short reliever.