P2Daily: Kyle Nicolas Immediate Impact May Be Out Bullpen, Starting Still Possible

When the Pittsburgh Pirates traded Jacob Stallings, they were hoping to move him when his value was at an absolute high. Looking at how he played this past season, you can certainly say it was the right call, although it is still early.

Maybe the most intriguing player in the trade was Kyle Nicolas, the 61st pick back in 2020 by the Marlins.

The righty had a fastball that could reach the upper 90s, and threw both a slider and curveball off of it.

His curveball isn’t the best, but he can break it over for strikes and paired well up in the zone with the fastball last year.

If not for a start against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats where he allowed eight earned runs in two innings, his opening two months numbers would have been spectacular. He threw four innings of perfect baseball on Easter Sunday, needing less than 50 pitches to complete the outing.

The control faded as the season went on, keeping him from pitching deep into games, but Nicolas still managed to pitch 90.2 innings and cross the century mark when it comes to strikeouts (101).

Looking at his control issues, and the upside of his fastball, Nicolas seems like an obvious candidate to move to the bullpen, especially heading into next year considering how deep the Indianapolis rotation potentially could be. 

If there is a guy that’s going to go into the season without much said about him that could come in and help out the major league team – maybe in a multi-inning type role – it could be someone like Nicolas.

That isn’t to discount Nicolas as a potential starter. He had some of the best stretches in the system last season, and while he doesn’t throw much of a changeup, he does have a third pitch that he can throw for strikes.

Which, as we saw in Luis Ortiz’s last start of the season, is very important at the major league level.

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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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Todd

I think putting young pitching prospects in the pen was more common in the past. I remember the great Johan Santana spent his rookie year out of the pen

AdministrativeSky236

Him and bolton are both guys i see as potential starters who could be a nice boost to the pen next year as they build up innings

b mcferren

this batch of relievers on the way are reminicent of Watson, Hughes, Wilson, Morris?

mpg43952

Let him get his feet wet in the bullpen, see how he does.

Mtgj

It will be interesting to see what they do with Nicholas. He is the type of guy that can help to turn the bullpen around next year, but he can also be another young part to the rotation.
Personally I think he would be a really good relief pitcher and I hope he is part of the mlb bullpen at some point next season. As I have said before, if this team can put together an above average bullpen for next season then they will compete for a playoff spot.

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