The Pirates Should Extend Juan Nicasio
Relief pitcher Juan Nicasio is set to become a free agent after this season, however, the Pirates should work to change this.
There are plenty of pitchers in Major League Baseball that start their careers as starting pitchers, are moved to the bullpen, and then find success as relievers. Pirates’ right-handed reliever Juan Nicasio fits this description.
Juan Nicasio joined the Pirates prior to the 2016 season. He began the 2016 season in the rotation but eventually found himself in the bullpen. This came after spending time as both a reliever and a starter for the Rockies and Dodgers in his career.
This led to him starting the 2017 season in the Pirate ‘pen.
So far this season (as of 5/11) Juan Nicasio has pitched 14 innings. He has allowed 13 hits, zero home runs, and he has struck out 12 batters in these 14 innings. This has led to him allowing just 3 earned runs and posting a 2.60 FIP so far this season.
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The Pirates moved Juan Nicasio to the bullpen on a full-time basis starting on June 26th, 2016. Since this move was made, Nicasio has been dominant out of the Pirate bullpen. And he has also filled multiple different roles.
Since moving to the bullpen full-time Juan Nicasio has pitched 68 2/3 innings. He is averaging 11.14 K/9, 3.01 BB/9, 0.39 HR/9, and he is generating a 49.7 percent ground ball rate in these 68 2/3 innings. He has allowed 63 hits, 21 earned runs (2.75 ERA), and he owns a 2.48 FIP.
As was said above, Juan Nicasio has also filled many roles in the Pirate bullpen. He has worked multiple innings when needed, he has been a fireman called upon to clean up messes created by other pitches, and he has been successful as a late inning reliever.
A relief pitcher that can pitch multiple roles well is a very valuable thing for a Major League bullpen to have. The Pirates have that in Juan Nicasio, and they need to keep him around.
Juan Nicasio is set to become a free agent at the end of the season. However, Neal Huntington and company should not let this happen. This is because the Pirates need to be working to extend Juan Nicasio.
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By extending Juan Nicasio, the Pittsburgh Pirates set themselves up to have a very good bullpen duo for the extended future. This duo would be Nicasio and Felipe Rivero. It is time for the Pirates to attempt to extend Nicasio.