The 21-year-old Nicolas attended college at Ball State, where he struggled to keep runs off the board in his first two seasons before coming into his own during a shortened 2020 campaign. Across 23 innings last season, he logged a 2.74 ERA with 14.5 K/9 against 2.7 BB/9. He subsequently entered the draft as a top 70 prospect according to FanGraphs (53), MLB.com (60), ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel (64) and Baseball America (No. 68). FanGraphs, the most bullish of those outlets, calls Nicolas a relief-only prospect and writes that he brings a high-90s fastball and a promising slider/curveball mix to the table.
Nicolas joins first-rounder Max Meyer as the only 2020 draft picks the Marlins have signed so far. Second-rounder Dax Fulton, third-rounder Zach McCambley, fourth-rounder Jake Eder and fifth-rounder Kyle Hurt are still without the deals. The Marlins went into the draft with a $12,016,900 bonus pool. Between Nicolas and Meyer, they’ve spent just over $7.8MM.