- Full name Carlos Enrique Nolasco
- Born 12/13/1982 in Corona, CA
- Profile Ht.: 6'2" / Wt.: 235 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School Rialto
- Debut 04/05/2006
Drafted in the 4th round (108th overall) by the Chicago Cubs in 2001.
View Draft ReportNolasco's best attribute is a power arm. He can maintain a 90-93 mph fastball deep into games. He's not big and his body is a little soft, but he has a good feel for pitching and developed a plus changeup to keep hitters off balance. In 71 innings this spring, he walked 21 while striking out 110. The complicating factor is a commitment to Long Beach State. Nolasco has indicated he'll attend school if he's not picked in the first three rounds.
Organization Prospect Rankings
For years, Nolasco had been overshadowed by fellow 2001 Cubs draftees Mark Prior, Andy Sisco and Sergio Mitre, as well as several other young arms in Chicago's pitching-heavy system. Nolasco, whose brother Dave pitched in the Brewers system, joined Mitre and Renyel Pinto in the Cubs' deal to get Juan Pierre at the Winter Meetings in December. Nolasco is coming off his best season as a pro, having been named Double-A Southern League pitcher of the year after leading the league in wins and strikeouts. He has two above-average pitches with his low-90s fastball and his curveball, and he throws his changeup for strikes. Managers rated his command the best in the Southern League, and he has a tremendous feel for pitching. When Nolasco was sent to Triple-A before he was ready in 2004, he didn't handle it well. He dropped down with his breaking ball, trying to aim it for strikes, and didn't have the confidence to use his changeup. After spending most of the last two seasons in Double-A, Nolasco is ready for Triple-A. The Marlins decimated their big league rotation, so he could make his major league debut in 2006.
If Rafael Palmeiro hadn't vetoed a 2003 deal, Chicago would have sent Nolasco and lefty Felix Sanchez (since traded to the Tigers) to Texas for Palmeiro. Instead, Nolasco reached Triple-A and passed his older brother David, a Brewers minor league righthander. Nolasco was too tentative in Triple-A but got back on track after returning to Double-A. He challenged hitters with his low-90s sinker and curveball. His curve is his best offering, but he relies on it too much. Conversely, he doesn't throw his changeup enough--and that's the pitch that can make the difference for him in Triple-A. Nolasco is a tough competitor, so Chicago doesn't expect him to be shellshocked when he gets his second chance in Iowa this year.
Nolasco is the stealth pitching prospect in the Cubs system. Drafted in the fourth round in 2001, when Chicago started its draft by taking Mark Prior and Andy Sisco, Nolasco never has received much attention. Yet he has a 19-7, 2.69 career record and skipped a level en route to a successful year in high Class A at age 20. He and Felix Sanchez were headed to Texas last summer in a trade for Rafael Palmeiro before Palmeiro nixed returning to the Cubs. The younger brother of Brewers minor league righthander Dave Nolasco, Ricky has a feel for pitching and a competitive makeup. When he got shelled for a 11.57 ERA through his first three Florida State League starts, he didn't panic and went 11-3, 2.23 the rest of the way. Nolasco's stuff is pretty nice, too. He throws a fastball in the low 90s, and it sinks and bores in on righthanders. His curveball is a solid second pitch, and he can change speeds on it. His changeup is on the road to becoming an average pitch. Nolasco puts his pitches where he wants to and gets lots of groundouts. He's ready for Double-A and could be pitching in Chicago by the end of 2005.
He hasn't attracted nearly the attention of fellow 2002 draftees Mark Prior and Andy Sisco, but Nolasco has started his pro career with a flourish. The younger brother of Brewers minor league righthander Dave Nolasco, he tied for the Boise lead in wins last year as part of a talented rotation that also included Sisco, Luke Hagerty and Jae-Kuk Ryu. Nolasco can touch 96 mph but is better off working in the lower 90s and getting more sink with a two-seam fastball. He throws over the top, so he doesn't have a lot of natural life on his pitches. The velocity fluctuates on his promising curveball, though that might be more by accident than by design. Nolasco has solid command but his changeup requires more work. Already filled out at 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds, he doesn't project to add more velocity and must watch his conditioning. He's ready to make his full-season debut in 2003.
Minor League Top Prospects
Nolasco has flown under the radar in the Cubs system, getting lost in the shuffle behind other more heavily touted pitching prospects. He's starting to get recognition after making a run at the pitching triple crown in his second year in the SL, topping the league in strikeouts, tying for the lead in wins and finishing third in ERA, on his way to SL pitcher of the year honors. Though he repeated Double-A, Nolasco is still just 22. He has an aggressive style and a quality repertoire with three solid-average pitches he throws for strikes: a 91-93 mph fastball, a curveball with good depth and a changeup. He also shows an ability to reach back and make big pitches late in games. "His command is phenomenal," Shines said. "This is the guy that just doesn't walk you. I think if he walked you, he tried to walk you. I think he throws the ball exactly where he wants to throw it. You've got to do things right when he's pitching, because he's not going to put guys on base."
A fourth member of Boise's talented rotation, Nolasco started to blossom in his second pro season. Dwarfed by the taller Hawks starters, Nolasco nevertheless had the second-best season on the team after Sisco, tying for second in victories while finishing third in strikeouts and sixth in ERA. Powerfully built at 6-foot-1 and 205 pounds, Nolasco showed a power arm, touching 95-96 mph at times with his fastball and generally pitching closer to 93 mph from an over-the-top delivery. Despite the velocity, his fastball lacks the overpowering life of his bigger Hawks counterparts, so he relies on two different curveballs, both of which he can throw for strikes. "He's a power arm who throws a heavy ball with good command," Franchuk said. "Against us, his breaking ball was hard and it was tight."
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Control in the Chicago Cubs in 2006
- Rated Best Control in the Southern League in 2005