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Sunday, June 6, 2010

Scouting Report, RHP Ricky Nolasco

The 27 year-old RHP Ricky Nolasco was drafted in the fourth round by the Cubs in 2001, and was traded by the Cubs in 2005 along with Sergio Mitre and Renyel Pinto for Juan Pierre. Think about that for a minute. Wow. He's in his fifth major league season with the Marlins, and has started 30+ games the past two years. He got sent down early last year, and since then he has been almost un-hittable. He was one of the best pitchers in the National League in the 2nd half of last year, with a FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching - a measure that runs on a similar scale to ERA but strips out factors such as defense, run and bullpen support) of 2.34 after June 7th. In 2008, he had a 3.52 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, which is what the Marlins are expecting in the future from Nolasco. He has had minor elbow and shoulder pain in the past (went on the DL in 2007), but no surgical history. He has swing-and-miss stuff (7.8 K/9 for his career, 9.5 K/9 last year), and minimizes walks (2.1 W/9 for his career). He's started 15 games against the Mets, and is 4-6 with a 5.62 ERA and 1.46 WHIP.

Nolasco throws from a 3/4 arm slot and is a four-pitch pitcher, with a low 90s fastball (88-93 both a two and four seam) and a plus 85-mph slider with sharp and late break, as well as a 75-mph curveball and 85-mph split-finger fastball that he throws from the same release point as his fastball. His slider is one of the best in the majors, and he throws it 25% of the time. He had success with his split last year, but is struggling with it so far this year.

Prior to his last start versus the Mets on May 16th, Nolasco was 3-2 in seven starts, with a 3.66 ERA and 1.09 WHIP (he had decreased his amount of walks to 1.74 W/9). He had gone 6+ innings in six of his seven starts, and has allowed three or less runs in five of those games. In his first start of the year versus the Mets (April 7), he threw 6 2/3 innings, allowing three runs and only six base runners.

Nolasco threw six innings and got the win in his last start versus the Mets (May 16), allowing six hits and two earned runs. His next two starts after that he saw his ERA balloon, as he only threw 9 1/3 innings and let up 11 earned runs. He rebounded to throw seven strong innings (three earned runs) in his last outing versus the Brewers, but his ERA currently sits at 4.57 and his WHIP has risen to 1.23.  One interesting stat to keep your eyes on has been his decreasing K/9 rate to below league average to 6.8 (last year it was 9.5). He also has let up 11 home runs in 69 innings so far, but none against the Mets.

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