With their eighth round pick in the 2022 MLB draft, the Pittsburgh Pirates selected left-handed pitcher Cy Nielson out of BYU.
He was originally drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the 40th round in 2019. He’s 21 years old and listed at 6’3″, 210 pounds by MLB, slightly smaller by Baseball America, who ranked him as the 320th best prospect in the draft.
Nielson was originally a starter, but moved to relief during his sophomore year in 2021, when major control issues led to a 7.75 ERA in 33.2 innings. He had solid control before that season and outstanding control in 2022 in a full-time bullpen role, putting up a 3.21 ERA in 33.2 innings, with 45 strikeouts and seven walks. He did well in college summer ball this year as a starter, though the walks were up, finishing with a 1.98 ERA in 13.1 innings, with seven walks (and four hit batters) and 17 strikeouts. BA notes that he has a low-90s fastball and a sweeping low-80s slider, which appears to be a popular combo for the Pirates in this draft class. They also note that he’s shown slightly better velocity in the past.
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.
When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.