Nick Nelson was drafted in the fourth round of the 2016 MLB Draft by the Yankees out of Gulf Coast Community College in Florida.
Last season, Nelson took big strides forward, pitching in 3 different levels. He began 2018 in the South Atlantic League with Charleston and performed well in 5 starts before earning a promotion to High-A, where he posted an impressive 3.36 ERA in 88 innings. The Yankees then granted him another step up to Trenton where he finished the season with 3 starts.
The 23-year-old has made 9 starts (10 appearances) for the Trenton Thunder (AA) so far this season. He has pitched to a 3.11 ERA and has posted great strikeout numbers, with 72 in 58.2 innings. However, he has had some trouble limiting free passes allowing 34 walks.This scouting report is an example of the exclusive content provided to Pinstriped Prospects Dugout Members. Dugout Members get complete access to scouting reports, interviews, and more all with limited advertisements on the website. Click here to sign up!
Fastball – Nelson shows solid velocity with the heater, usually sitting around 93-96, up to 97, but the heater plays down due to poor command and lack of life to it, often resulting in solid contact.
Changeup – The right-hander has a deep repertoire of secondary pitches, which includes a changeup which acts as a neutralizer against left-handed batters. This pitch has decent run and some fade at times
Cutter – With a fastball that gets hit, it is helpful for Nelson to be able to bend his fastball at times, and that is what the cutter does for him. His cutter has tight break at 88-89 mph and is a rather effective pitch. In fact, it’s probably his best pitch.
Curveball – Nelson curve has a vertical shape to it. The pitch features solid depth and sharp break but he hasn’t shown much feel for the pitch.
His command has been spotty in both of my looks. The fastball is especially inconsistent, but he certainly needs to work on accuracy with all of his pitches if he wants a chance at remaining a starter.
Nelson’s mechanics feature a short arm action with good momentum. He comes at hitters from a high slot and a 3/4 arm angle. He has a smooth, balanced delivery while maintaining adequate posture. The one negative aspect of Nelson’s mechanics is the lack of extension that he gets on his stride toward home, which is yet another thing that causes his fastball to be easier for hitters to pick up.
Nelson has a stocky build at 6’1″ 195 lbs. At 23 years old with a filled-out frame, what you see is what you’re going to get as far as his body goes.
There’s no denying Nelson has decent secondary stuff when it is at its best. However, there are also some of the glaring flaws in what he brings to the table, which collectively help to limit what type of pitcher he projects as going forward. Due to limited strike-throwing ability and accuracy, Nick Nelson’s profile doesn’t scream big league starting pitcher. There’s a good chance the Yankees eventually transition Nelson to a bullpen role. He still can be a valuable piece to the Yankees organization though, if he works on throwing his pitches for strikes and improving his ability to move his fastball around.