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Juan Nicasio
Birthdate: 8/31/1986 (30 y, 6 m, 30 d)     Bats/Throws: R/R     Height/Weight: 6-3/190     Position: P
Contract: $3.6M / 1 Years (2017)
RotoWire News: Although the Pirates don't expect to use Nicasio as a closer, he will pitch in high-leverage situations. "I like the role we had him in last year. He flourished in it," manager Clint Hurdle told the team's website. "There were games where he could give late-inning leverage, depending on the use of the other guys. There were days he came in and stopped the biggest situation of the game in the sixth inning, then was able to add another inning to it." (2/16/2017)
Profiles:  2012  2013  2014  2015  2016  2017  (Click Year to Expand / Close)
Profile: Early in the 2016 season, Juan Nicasio looked like the best bet for the next pitcher Pirates’ pitching coach Ray Searage would work his magic on.  Nicasio had already demonstrated elite strikeout potential in 2015, when the Dodgers made him a primary reliever for the first time and he struck out more than 10 batters per nine.  Last season, Nicasio further improved his strikeout rate to 10.5 batters per nine and, more importantly, cut his walk rate from 4.9 to 3.4 per nine.  Unfortunately, those peripheral improvements proved not enough to overcome his consistent underperformance in factors traditionally deemed as luck-related, in particular with his .331 batting average on balls in play and his 13.6 percent home run per flyball rate, both well above league average.  If Nicasio hadn’t underachieved in literally every major league season, then he would look like the perfect breakout candidate.  But since he has underachieved every season now for six seasons, then it seems that there is simply something about his pitches that make them more hittable, elite strikeout rate or not.  Tony Watson is far from an established closer, but the Pirates have other intriguing bullpen options like Felipe Rivero that make Nicasio a long shot for saves.  He’s best viewed as a potential in-season pickup if things finally start to go his way over the first couple of months of 2017.  (Scott Spratt)

The Quick Opinion: Juan Nicasio has looked the part of an elite bullpen arm since he gave up starting in 2015 and started to strike out more than 10 batters per nine innings.  Unfortunately, persistent batted ball issues make it seem as though he will never quite live up to his peripheral numbers, making him a likely mid-inning reliever for the 2017 Pirates.

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