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Justin Brian Nicolino (born November 22, 1991) is an American professional baseball pitcher who is a free agent. He has played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Miami Marlins.

Justin Nicolino
Justin Nicolino on April 7, 2016.jpg
Nicolino pitching for the New Orleans Zephyrs in 2016
Free agent
Born: (1991-11-22) November 22, 1991 (age 28)
Orlando, Florida
Bats: Left Throws: Left
MLB debut
June 20, 2015, for the Miami Marlins
MLB statistics
(through 2017 season)
Win–loss record10–13
Earned run average4.65

Early life and educationEdit

Nicolino attended University High School in Orlando, Florida. Playing for the school's baseball team, he had a 4–2 win–loss record and a 1.95 earned run average (ERA) with 74 strikeouts in 44 innings pitched in his senior year. He committed to attend the University of Virginia on a college baseball scholarship. Projected as a third or fourth round pick in the 2010 Major League Baseball Draft, Nicolino expected to honor the commitment.[1]

The Toronto Blue Jays selected Nicolino in the second round of the 2010 Major League Baseball draft, with the 80th overall selection.[1] He signed with the Blue Jays for a reported $615,000 signing bonus, rather than enroll at the University of Virginia.[2][3]

Professional careerEdit

Toronto Blue JaysEdit

Nicolino pitching for the Lansing Lugnuts in 2011

Nicolino made his professional debut for the Vancouver Canadians of the Class A-Short Season Northwest League in 2011, posting a 5–1 win–loss record and a 1.03 ERA. The Blue Jays promoted him to the Lansing Lugnuts of the Class A Midwest League late in the season, and he pitched to a 1–1 record and a 3.12 ERA in three starts for Lansing. Nicolino returned to Lansing for the 2012 season.[4][5] He had a 10–4 win–loss record with a Midwest League-best 2.46 ERA and 119 strikeouts in ​124 13 innings pitched. His teammates voted him as the Lugnuts' Most Valuable Player, and he was named to the Midwest League Postseason All-Star team.[6][7]

Miami MarlinsEdit

On November 19, 2012, the Blue Jays traded Nicolino, Adeiny Hechavarria, Henderson Álvarez, Yunel Escobar, Jeff Mathis, Anthony DeSclafani, and Jake Marisnick to the Miami Marlins in exchange for Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson, José Reyes, John Buck, and Emilio Bonifacio.[8] On January 29, 2013, Nicolino was named number 72 on MLB's Top 100 Prospects list.[9] He began the 2013 season with the Jupiter Hammerheads of the Class A-Advanced Florida State League (FSL).[10] After pitching to a 5–2 record with a 2.23 ERA, and being named a FSL All-Star, he received a promotion to the Jacksonville Suns of the Class AA Southern League in July.[11] Pitching for Jacksonville in 2014, Nicolino had a went 14–4 with a 2.85 ERA in 28 starts, and was named the Marlins' Minor League Pitcher of the Year.[12][13] After the 2014 season, the Marlins added Nicolino to their 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 draft.[14]

Nicolino began the 2015 season with the New Orleans Zephyrs of the Class AAA Pacific Coast League.[15] The Marlins called up Nicolino for his first major league start on June 20, 2015, taking the rotation spot of Tom Koehler.[16] He pitched 7 shutout innings, giving up 4 hits and 2 walks, with 2 strikeouts. He was optioned back to Class AAA on June 30, 2015.[17] He finished the season 5-4 with a 4.01 ERA in 12 starts for the Marlins. He struck out 23 in 74 innings.

In 2016, Nicolino pitched in 5 games out of the bullpen, while starting 13 for the Marlins. He finished with a 3-6 record and a 4.99 ERA on the season.[18]

In 2017, Nicolino was placed on the disabled list on May 30 with a contusion on his left index finger.[19] Nicolino pitched in 12 games out of the bullpen, while starting 8 for the Marlins. He finished with a 2-3 record and a 5.06 ERA on the 2017 season.[18]

In his career with the Marlins, Nicolino, was 10-13 with a 4.65 ERA in 50 games, including 33 starts, and in spring training in 2018 with the Marlins he had a 5.23 ERA in five games.[20]

Cincinnati RedsEdit

On March 25, 2018, Nicolino was claimed off waivers by the Cincinnati Reds.[21] Two days later, he was outrighted to Triple-A.[22] He elected free agency on November 3, 2018.

Minnesota TwinsEdit

On February 6, 2019, Nicolino signed a minor league deal with the Minnesota Twins that included an invitation to spring training.[23] He opened the 2019 season with the Rochester Red Wings. Nicolino was released by the organization on May 1, 2019.

Chicago White SoxEdit

On May 4, 2019, Nicolino signed a minor league deal with the Chicago White Sox. He became a free agent following the 2019 season.[24]

Scouting reportEdit

Nicolino is a contact pitcher, pitching in the high 80s to low 90s with his fastball. He also throws a changeup and a curveball.[25] Since 2014, Nicolino has averaged 4.8 strikeouts per 9 innings in the minors, while with the Marlins since 2015, he's average 3.7 strikeouts per 9 innings.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b Hightower, Kyle (June 17, 2010). "Former University ace Justin Nicolino ready to begin pro baseball journey". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved October 31, 2013.
  2. ^ "Varsity roll call: Blue Jays sign Justin Nicolino". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved December 18, 2014.
  3. ^ "Blue Jays add to draft signings | Official Info". May 24, 2013. Retrieved October 31, 2013.
  4. ^ "Lansing Lugnuts Profile: Justin Nicolino, a left-handed pitcher from Orlando". May 18, 2012. Retrieved December 18, 2014.
  5. ^ "Lansing Lugnuts pitching prospects earn high praise in Sports Illustrated article". August 16, 2012. Retrieved December 18, 2014.
  6. ^ "Lansing Lugnuts can look back proudly at record-setting 2012 season". September 10, 2012. Retrieved December 18, 2014.
  7. ^ "Four former Lugnuts involved in blockbuster trade between Toronto Blue Jays and Miami Marlins". November 16, 2012. Retrieved December 18, 2014.
  8. ^ "MLB approves mega-deal between Blue Jays and Marlins". November 19, 2012. Retrieved November 19, 2012.
  9. ^ Fordin, Spencer (January 29, 2013). "Sanchez, Osuna named to Top 100 Prospects list". Retrieved January 30, 2013.
  10. ^ Nick Kappel. "In Justin Nicolino, Hammerheads have promising pitcher, engaging personality". TCP. Retrieved December 18, 2014.
  11. ^ "Suns' Justin Nicolino picks up his first Double-A win". Retrieved December 18, 2014.
  12. ^ "Realmuto and Nicolino 2014 Marlins Minor League Award Winners - Jacksonville Suns News". Jacksonville Suns. Retrieved December 18, 2014.
  13. ^ "Nicolino, Realmuto win Minor League awards". Miami Marlins. Retrieved December 18, 2014.
  14. ^ Fox Sports (November 20, 2014). "Miami Marlins add Justin Nicolino, other prospects to 40-man roster". FOX Sports. Retrieved December 18, 2014.
  15. ^ "Miami Marlins' Justin Nicolino headed to New Orleans Zephyrs - News - The Official Site of Minor League Baseball". March 3, 2015. Retrieved March 11, 2015.
  16. ^ De Nicola, Christina (June 20, 2015). "Marlins promote LHP prospect Justin Nicolino to start Saturday". Fox Sports. Retrieved June 20, 2015.
  17. ^ "Gordon's inside-the-park homer helps Marlins beat Giants 5-3". ESPN. Associated Press. July 1, 2015. Retrieved July 1, 2015.
  18. ^ a b Justin Nicolino Minor Leagues Statistics & History |
  19. ^ Recent news on Justin Nicolino - Cincinnati Reds -
  20. ^ Reds claim lefty Justin Nicolino off waivers |
  21. ^ "Reds' Justin Nicolino: Claimed by Reds". March 25, 2018. Retrieved March 25, 2018.
  22. ^ Todd, Jeff (March 27, 2018). "Reds Outright Justin Nicolino". Retrieved March 28, 2018.
  23. ^ Adams, Steve (February 6, 2019). "Twins Sign Tim Collins, Justin Nicolino To Minor League Deals". Retrieved February 6, 2019.
  24. ^ Matt Eddy (November 7, 2019). "Minor League Free Agents 2019". Baseball America. Retrieved November 8, 2019.
  25. ^ 2015 Miami Marlins Camp Prospect Profile: Justin Nicolino - Fish Stripes

External linksEdit