Pittsburgh Pirates: Intriguing Non-Roster Invitees to Spring Training
Right-handed pitcher Kyle Nicolas
After being acquired in the Jacob Stallings trade with the Miami Marlins, 23-year-old Kyle Nicolas has become one of the most underrated and intriguing pitching prospects in the Pirate farm system. Last season with Double-A Altoona, Nicolas posted a 3.97 ERA, 4.30 FIP, struck out 101 batters (10.03 K/9), walked 47 (4.67 BB/9), and had a 1.30 WHIP across 90.2 innings pitched and 22 starts.
Nicolas struck out almost 26% of the batters that he faced, but struggled with walks, walking 12.1%. While these aren't "ace level" stats, his stats were heavily inflated after one fluke start early in the season, where he gave up 8 earned runs in 2 innings. Take out that fluke start, and Nicolas' season numbers would have been significantly better.
Nicolas has a solid pitching repertoire that consists of a mid 90's fastball, a solid slider, a serviceable curveball, and a below-average changeup. As the old saying goes, "you can never have enough pitching", and Nicolas could easily compete for a bottom of the rotation spot in 2023 and beyond, and Spring Training could further solidify that projection. With Nicolas projected to start out the 2023 season in Triple-A Indianapolis, expect him to potentially make his major league debut in 2023 if he performs well.