Nicasio has enjoyed impressive longevity as a right-handed reliever, hanging in the majors for most of the last nine seasons. The righty’s longest tenure came with the Rockies, with whom he made his debut and pitched from 2011 through 2014. He was mostly a starter in Colorado, though he lasted a full year of turns only in 2013, going 9-9 over 31 starts (157 2/3 innings) putting up a 5.14 ERA/4.25 FIP.
In all, Nicasio’s career has largely been defined by ERAs lagging behind his Fielding Independent Pitching. Nicasio finished with a higher ERA than FIP in seven of his nine professional seasons. 2017 was the rare year for Nicasio when his FIP caught up to his ERA (2.61 ERA/2.98 FIP) while he led the league with 76 appearances pitching for the Phillies, Cardinals, and Pirates.
The last two seasons have been particularly gruesome. In 2018, he appeared in 46 games for the Mariners with a 6.00 ERA/2.99 FIP across 42 innings. This season the splits were less drastic, though with a 4.75 ERA/3.87 FIP across 47 relief appearances for the Phillies, he again suffered from underperformance.
Given the degree to which Nicasio has been victimized by poor BABIPs these last two seasons (.402 BABIP in 2018, .366 BABIP in 2019), the Rangers grab a nice flyer here with no risk. The Rangers didn’t boast a great defensive unit in 2019, and replacing Delino DeShields with Danny Santana in center won’t help, but there’s still lots of time for the top of that depth chart to shift.