- Full name Juan Ramon Nicasio
- Born 08/31/1986 in San Francisco De Macoris, Dominican Republic
- Profile Ht.: 6'4" / Wt.: 250 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- Debut 05/28/2011
Organization Prospect Rankings
Nicasio is a late bloomer, signing out of the Dominican Republic at age 19 and making his full-season debut three years later. He took a major step forward in 2010, leading the high Class A California League in wins (12), innings (177) and strikeouts (171). Despite blowing away his previous career high of 112 innings, he finished with a flourish, going 4-1, 2.30 ERA with just four walks in 43 innings over his final six starts. Nicasio has the stuff and size to pitch near the front of a big league rotation, and one Cal League scout compared him to a young Ubaldo Jimenez. Nicasio has an 89-94 mph fastball and the ability to reach back and hit 97. He throws two versions of a breaking ball, a true curveball and a slurvier version that some scouts call a slider. He's developing a changeup that elicits swings and misses at times. Nicasio posted a 5.5 K-BB ratio last year, and at times he's around the strike zone too much. He had more success one he adjusted and began pitching inside more, moving hitters off the plate. Nicasio will take his four-pitch mix to Double-A in 2011. If all goes well, he could challenge for a job in Colorado's rotation by mid-2012.
After three years of Rookie and short-season action, Nicasio had an eye-opening effort in low Class A last year, showing the ability to throw strikes and dominating hitters. He had a 5-1 strikeout-walk ratio and led the South Atlantic League with a 2.41 ERA, pitching his way onto the 40-man roster because the Rockies feared losing him in the Rule 5 draft. Nicasio sits in the low-90s with his fastball, which he complements with a plus changeup. He uses a curveball for his primary breaking pitch, but he'll probably refine a slider to use more than the curve. Nicasio's breakthrough year was the result of adjustments in his delivery, improving his downhill angle to the plate and giving him better sink on his pitches. He's a strike-thrower, though he becomes hittable if he flattens out his delivery. After his first summer with a heavy workload, the Rockies brought him to instructional league and then sent him to their Dominican academy, but they declined to have him pitch winter ball. Nicasio will open 2010 in high Class A, and Colorado will accelerate his progress if he continues to dominate.
Minor League Top Prospects
Pounding the zone with a 90-94 mph fastball with cutting action, Nicasio led the Cal League in wins (12), innings (177) and strikeouts (171). He has the ability to reach back for more and tap 97, leading one scout to compare him to a young Ubaldo Jimenez. Nicasio projects as a No. 3 starter but could become a frontline guy if he refines his secondary pitches. His changeup generates some swings and misses, but he telegraphs it at times by slowing his arm speed. He has two breaking balls with solid potential, and his curveball grades better than his slider.