- 10) Sean Nolin (LHP) 6th Round, 186th overall – 2010 – 12/26/1989 (23)
Sean Nolin was the Blue Jays’ 6th-round draft choice (186th overall) in 2010 out of San Jacinto North Junior College. Nolin has turned heads in his first two full seasons as a professional by striking out more than 25% of the batters he’s faced. The 6’5″, 235 lb. left-hander appears rather intimidating on the mound but doctors believe he may have been suffering from a mild case of early onset Jon Rauch-itis from which he appears to be recovering.
In 2011, Nolin’s first full professional season, the big lefty from Long Island came to camp slimmed down and in great shape. This allowed him to add a couple more ticks to his fastball while he worked on his secondaries.
Jays Journal, prior to the 2012 season, wrote:
Although he has an intimidating look on the mound, he’s not a power pitcher at all–consistently hitting high 80′s/low-90′s on the radar gun–but doesn’t make up for it with his command, at least for now. His four-seam grip changeup is his best off-speed pitch, but it still has a ways to go to consistently be even a major-league average pitch. His curveball is still considered a work in progress and he added a slider this year while toying with a cut version of his fastball, but none of the offerings are considered average pitches yet.
Not exactly a ringing endorsement of the young southpaw. But in 2012, Nolin continued to produce results despite moving up first to Dunedin in the Florida State League (Hi-A) and then to New Hampshire of the Eastern League (AA). While reports on the progress of his secondaries are slim, one must assume that they are progressing or else the more advanced hitters he faced in 2012 would have caught up to his fastball.
Again in 2012, Nolin’s best pitch was his low-90s fastball, which touched upwards of 95 in 2012, which Nolin uses to attack the lower part of the zone and get ahead of hitters. In an interview with Baseball Hot Corner, he noted that while he works off of his fastball for the most part, when his curveball is on, it serves as his ‘out’ pitch. It sits at 72-75 mph. His changeup, considered his best offspeed pitch prior to 2012, sat around 85 mph this past season. If he can bump his fastball up to be consistently in the mid-90s, his secondaries would feature good separation and should help him continue his success.
Though Nolin has had great success thus far in his career, he is not likely to continue as he moves up without improving his command of his secondaries. If he can add a few more mph to his fastball and sit consistently in the mid-90s and add two MLB-average secondaries, then Nolin could be a great back of the rotation starter for the Jays in the coming years.
Look for Nolin to start 2013 in New Hampshire but if he continues to succeed then Buffalo should be in the cards for next year. The earliest Nolin can be expected in Toronto would be for a cup of coffee in September barring an injury-plagued season worse than 2012.