- Full name Sean Patrick Nolin
- Born 12/26/1989 in Seaford, NY
- Profile Ht.: 6'4" / Wt.: 250 / Bats: L / Throws: L
- School San Jacinto College
- Debut 05/24/2013
Drafted in the 6th round (186th overall) by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2010 (signed for $175,000).
View Draft ReportAt 6-foot-4 and 250 pounds, Sean Nolin looks like a lefthanded version of Jason Jennings. Nolin's fastball will sit at 86-89 mph in some games and 88-92 in others, and he backs it up with a solid changeup and fringy curveball.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Nolin rose from relative obscurity as an amateur to establish himself as one of the Blue Jays' better prospects, and the A's brought him in as part of the four-player bounty that sent Josh Donaldson to Toronto. However, Nolin rarely got to build any momentum, logging just 76 innings combined between Oakland and Triple-A Nashville. Offseason sports hernia surgery kept him out until May, and later shoulder and more groin issues shelved him again in the middle of the season. Nolin showed he could hit up to 95 mph in the past, but his velocity fluctuated from 87-92 mph last season as he battled through his injury issues. At his best, Nolin commands a four-pitch mix with nice downhill angle in his delivery. He can place his fastball in all parts of the strike zone and complements it with an above-average changeup. His curveball rates ahead of his slider and he'll use either of them at any time in the count, though the changeup has been his best secondary pitch overall. Nolin will compete for a big league job in spring training, but above all, the A's just want to see him at full strength and improve his durability. Although he has the physicality to be a starter, groin problems have hampered him on and off going back to 2013.
Nolin was the second player to reach the majors from the Blue Jays' first draft of the Alex Anthopoulos era in 2010, signing for $175,000. He made a spot start for Toronto in 2013 but a groin strain slowed his development in 2014. He also joined the Athletics as part of Toronto's payment for Josh Donaldson. Nolin is a four-pitch lefthander with the potential to be a No. 4 starter with improved command of his secondary stuff and control, as his walk rate this season (3.6 per nine) was the highest of his career. Nolin's fastball sits 89-92 but can touch 95 at its best or sink in the upper 80s. His high three-quarters arm slot creates downhill plane, and his four-seam fastball has riding life through the zone when he gets extension out front. His top secondary offering is his changeup that has above-average potential, though he can slow his arm on the pitch. He has better feel for his fringy curve than his below-average slider, but he needs to land both breaking balls for strikes more often. A big-bodied lefthander with a large, durable frame, Nolin has the body to pitch in the rotation, though his physique has shown some softness in the past. Nolin is a lefthanded contrast to Kendall Graveman, the other starter Oakland acquired from Toronto, as an extreme flyball pitcher while Graveman thrives on grounders. Nolin's profile fits better in the Athletics' spacious O.Co Coliseum than it did in Toronto's Rogers Centre, and he'll compete for a rotation spot in 2015.
In the first draft for the current regime, Toronto got good value in the sixth round, signing Nolin for $175,000. He has lost bad weight, especially from his lower half and core, since signing and has moved quickly. After starting the 2013 season late with a groin injury, he made an unsuccessful spot start in the majors in May, returned to Double-A New Hampshire and earned a late promotion to Triple-A Buffalo. Nolin offers a true four-pitch mix with above-average command, and he's capable of locating to all quadrants of the zone. He pitches with average fastball velocity, although can he reach back for a 95 mph four-seamer. Nolin creates deception, hides the ball well and gets downhill plane from a high three-quarters arm slot, and he uses a two-seamer to get sink. His changeup with late tumble is a plus offering. He entered the system with a curveball, which is now an average offering, and picked up an average, mid-80s slider with sharp bite. With his high arm slot, Nolin's fastball can have below-average life and he likely will be an extreme flyball pitcher. Nolin is close to a finished product, and his above-average command could allow him to contribute in Toronto if called upon in 2014. He fits a No. 4 starter profile.
Nolin wasn't a premium prospect coming out of the 2010 draft, but he has had a lot of success since the Blue Jays took him. He went 10-0, 2.07 that spring at San Jacinto (Texas) JC, and has gone 14-6, 3.04 and reached Double-A since signing for $175,000 as a sixth-round pick. Compared to a lefthanded version of former Baylor and Rockies pitcher Jason Jennings, Nolin has a burly frame and thrives on his feel for pitching. He has an average fastball that ranges from 88-94 mph and regularly sits at 90-91. He also mixes in a two-seamer that sits in the high 80s and features nice sink. His best secondary offering is a solid changeup, and he throws a curveball and slider. He has a longer history with the curve and has added power to it, while his slider needs shorter and quicker break. Projected as a back-of-the-rotation starter, Nolin will return to New Hampshire to begin 2013 but could advance to Triple-A quickly.