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Saturday, November 26, 2022

Kyle Nicolas: Attacks Hitters Base Off ‘Feel’ On The Mound

ALTOONA, Pa. – Kyle Nicolas has some of the best stuff in the Pirates system, capable of reaching the upper 90s with his fastball, mixing in a slider and curveball along the way.

Learning how best to utilize his arsenal, that’s the work he’s been putting in with the Altoona Curve this season. 

Double-A is widely looked at as the first real test for minor leaguers on their way to the majors, and pitchers really have to advance beyond the ‘thrower’ stage and really master pitch sequencing, among other things, if they want to move on past it.

For Nicolas, he relies on how he feels and what kind of reads he gets off the hitters to determine how he will attack them.

“At the end of the day, it all comes down to feel, at least for me,” Nicolas told Pirates Prospects. “When I’m out there, if I’m feeling something really good, and honestly just read the hitters. If you think the hitters don’t see a certain pitch well, you just attack and go off of it.”

I’ve written previously about how Nicolas kind of has a two-pronged approach on the mound, attacking high with the curveball, and away with the slider, mixing in the fastball in similar locations to go with what he’s throwing.

He admitted it isn’t always an easy decision on which pitch to go with when discussing his slider.

“Something I struggle more with is curveball or slider, and how to attack them more,” Nicolas said. “I felt confident in both. It’s not like I’m not pitching to my strengths. I’m still pitching to my strengths. It just helps to know what hitters like more.”

The slider is generally rated as his better of the two breaking pitches, but Nicolas’ ability to throw the curveball for strikes has only made it more difficult for hitters to get a read on him.

We know that there are times a pitcher hits the mound and doesn’t have their best stuff, and doesn’t feel it as they go through the motion. Nicolas has an approach for that as well, to slow down as much as possible and look at the task at hand.

“I think for me, it’s just taking a deep breath on the mound, not letting the game speed up on me.”

Really what it comes down to though is his ability to control the next pitch he is about to throw, whatever it ends up being.

“Just taking it one pitch at a time,” said Nicolas. “If you just think ‘execute this pitch right here, this is the only pitch I have right now,’ I think that’s gotten me in a good mindset to be under control and in control of most at-bats that I’m facing.”

THIS WEEK ON PIRATES PROSPECTS

ALTOONA CURVE PITCHERS

By Anthony Murphy

Williams: Scouting Talent, Scouting People

Quinn Priester: Confidence Paves Path To Success On The Mound

Kyle Nicolas: Attacks Hitters Base Off ‘Feel’ On The Mound

Maintaining Focus on the Mound is Key To The Highest Level

Luis Ortiz: Focus On ‘Filling Zone’, Force Hitters To Cheat On Fastball

Tahnaj Thomas: Bullpen Role Helping Focus On Throwing Strikes

J.C. Flowers: Athleticism Allows Righty To Be A Quick Study On The Mound

ALTOONA CURVE HITTERS

By Tim Williams

Williams: Exquisite Corpse

Endy Rodriguez is Looking Like the Best Prospect in the Pirates System

Liover Peguero Needs to Control His Talent

Jon Nunnally Discusses the Hitting Development Approach in Altoona

Why is Nick Gonzales Struggling to Make Contact?

Blake Sabol: A Prospect Development Story

Aaron Shackelford: “It’s definitely been a growing season, mentally”

+ posts

Anthony began writing over 10 years ago, starting a personal blog to cover the 2011 MLB draft, where the Pirates selected first overall. After bouncing around many websites covering hockey, he refocused his attention to baseball, his first love when it comes to sports. He eventually found himself here at Pirates Prospects in late 2021, where he covers the team’s four full season minor league affiliates.

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mpg43952

Another guy we need to come through & make the big club.

joebaseball

Good thought process on the mound.

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