Jays Pitching Prospect, LHP Justin Nicolino: Arm on Fire!

While the Jays just had 2 very horrible starts from pitching prospects (Kyle Drabek‘s 0.2 inning outing with 5 ER given up, as well as the Aaron Sanchez debut which had him giving up 8 ER in 2.2 innings of work in Bluefield), they do have a huge positive to enjoy in Justin Nicolino. His early dominance is not only evident, but looks to ensure that he is promoted quickly and adds his name to the list of high-end pitching prospects in the organization.

His first 2 starts are as follows:

Start at home: 5 IP / 1 hit allowed / 0 ER / 1 walk / 5 strike outs

Start away: 5 IP / 1 hit allowed / 0 ER / 1 walk / 7 strike outs

The math is pretty easy to do from there. He has 10 IP, 2 hits, 0 ER, 2 walks, and 12 Ks to his credit.

There is one word of caution, however, in that these performances have come during the “post draft signing period” where a lot of teams have yet to sign their star players, slightly diluting the talent that Nicolino has faced. Still, he has had to face some LoA-HiA veterans who have taken a step back in their place, thus making his job close to being just as hard – and impressive – overall.

The 19 year old 6’3″ 160 lbs Orlando native has simply been electric during his debut for Vancouver, and it shouldn’t be long befoe he stretches his arm out and gets deeper into games.

If he maintains such dominance for any length of time, he could find himself in Lansing very quickly. With Drew Hutchison having earned a promotion to Dunedin, I don’t see anything blocking such a promotion, even if it is early in the short-season schedule. He and fellow 2011 draftee Noah Syndergaard have certainly begun their 2011 seasons on the right foot, and it’s nice to see such dominance when we also have to consider the pains of Drabek and Sanchez.

For those who live out on the West coast of Canada in the Vancouver region, Nicolino is certainly worth the price of admission!

Although I can’t predict when Nicolino may be promoted by the Jays, I can tell you that he may take a big leap in the Top Prospect rankings. His arm is on fire right now, and as a dominant LHP, he’s definitely someone you want to keep on your radar as a Jays fan, and in fantasy circles.
- MG

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Tags: Aaron Sanchez Justin Nicolino Kyle Drabek Noah Syndergaard

  • sk


    Do you think if justin adds 2 -3 mph to his fastball he could be in the top 10 jays prospects by the year end?


  • Contrasoma

    Was able to catch his home start and, like you say, it was electric. He’s definitely looking to be one of the highlights of this season at the Nat (for however long he’s there).

    • http://www.jayjournal.com Jared Macdonald

      Hey Contrasoma, thanks for sharing about Nicolino, I’m definitely excited to see more from him. What’s the atmosphere like at Scotiabank Field?

      • Contrasoma

        Sorry for the late reply! Nat Bailey’s a great spot for minor league ball. Right next to Queen Elizabeth park, so you’ve got a great natural backdrop behind the outfield fence, and the summer sunsets are gorgeous. They do all of the usual goofy kids games and promo stuff well, with some distinctly Vancouver flourishes (sushi mascot races, for example). Folks in town do seem a lot more interested in the C’s now that there’s the Jays connection, and the C’s organization is definitely doing their best to capitalize on that. I’ve been going to the Nat for about 20 years now, and there’s never been as strong an attempt to connect the team with the parent club as there is this year.

  • Nathan

    I was able to catch his debut at the Nat as well and he was in control the entire game, I was very impressed, you could tell his location was spot-on. I believe he had a perfect game going through 4 innings or so then allowed a walk and a double (thrown out trying to stretch into a triple). The atmosphere at Nat Bailey is pretty good, its a classic small park feel with lots of character.