Jays Journal Prospect Watch: Sean Nolin, LHP in LoA Lansing

With so many prospects soon to make their 2011 debuts in short-season ball, I will be running a new series on JJ titled “Jays Journal Prospect Watch”. Within these articles, I’ll do my best to examine what progress a certain Jays prospect has made and conclude with an assessment of why we should or shouldn’t be keeping closer tabs on these players. With the draft also around the corner, I’m positive that I’ll never be short on information to sift through!

First up is a big lefty from Seaford New York that was nabbed in the 6th round of the 2010 draft. He had already been draft twice before the Jays drafted him. Once by the Brewers in 2008 (50th rd), and once by the Mariners in 2009 (48th rd). For him to hold out and come out so far ahead is impressive, but who could blame him when he was really at the end of the draft each time! He wound up signing with the Jays for $175,000 after the draft.

Baseball America noted that he:

looks like a lefthanded version of Jason Jennings

As for his stuff, at the time, it was said to include a mediocre 86-92 MPH fastball (depending on who you were getting the information from), a good change up, and a less developed curve ball.

He is 21 years old, will turn 22 in December, and stands 6’5″ 235 lbs.

The guys at Batter’s Box interviewed Sean in August of 2010. Sadly, he admits to having grown up a Yankees fan, but does admit to knowing the Jays that much more just from having followed the AL East so closely while growing up. He also notes to having thrown over 100 innings in a very successful Junior College season where he went 13-0.

2010 Post-Draft

His innings and work after signing with the Jays were indicative of someone who was tired and needed some good rest before getting down to business. He threw only 21.1 innings in the GCL and Auburn combined, and did manage an impressive 26 Ks. Unfortunately, that was joined with 26 hits and 10 walks, which allowed opponents to score 13 ER for a 5.48 ERA.

2011

This is an entirely different Sean Nolin, and I do believe that even the Jays may be pleasantly surprised by what they’ve seen out of Sean thus far in 2011. I know we are! He brought into Lansing right away, a sure sign of confidence from the Jays, even if it was half a month into the season. His stats thus far after 4 appearances (1 start)?

4 GP / 12.2 IP / 8 hits / 1 ER / 1 BB / 12 Ks / .190 Avg Against

In a word: dominant! And when you’re seeing that from a BIG guy that throws from the left side of the mound, you get a little excited. Is there anything else to get excited about? Well, how about the stats vs LH batters?

4.2 IP / 0 hits / 0 ER / 0 BB / 4 Ks / .000 Avg Against

In a word: sick!

I know it’s an extremely small sample size, but come on, that says a lot about his stuff and how well he’s throwing the ball early on in the season. If it’s an indication that he can dominate LHB that much at higher levels in the future, he at the very minimum has a great future as a lefty specialist out of an MLB pen. Still, you have to believe that the Jays are going to try as hard as they can to make him an effective starter with this kind of start to his first full season of pro ball.

Again, it’s a small sample size, he may have a little harder time when he moves up a level or two, but it’s encouraging and does call for close monitoring of his next outings to see if his dominance continues. He definitely has the size, and it’s obvious that his command of the change up must have LoA hitters puzzled. I’m looking forward to seeing just if he can continue to dominate so much and whether that forces the Jays to move him up to HiA quickly. The thought of yet another top pitching prospect lurking in the minors is fun to bring up, and I only hope that there are many more to come this season!!

- MG

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