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2020 MLB Amateur Draft: Ball State RHP Kyle Nicolas Drafted by the Miami Marlins

Ball State’s Kyle Nicolas became the first MAC prospect selected in the 2020 MLB draft.

Photo: Jean Beaufort; logo from Ball State Athletics

Former Ball State right-handed pitcher Kyle Nicolas is now a professional baseball player.

Selected with the 61st overall pick in the 2020 Major League Baseball draft, Kyle Nicolas became the third pitcher selected by the Miami Marlins in as many picks and the first MAC baseball prospect to be selected in this year’s amateur draft.

Nicolas entered the draft ranked 60th on MLB Pipeline’s list of top prospects and 68th on Baseball America’s ranking, and was one of the highest risers on most lists before the draft.

Nicolas struggled with walks when he first came to Ball State, but made great strides in his command over the last year.

A dominant summer in the Cape Cod League and an impressive start to his junior campaign provided a major bump to Nicolas’ draft stock. After walking 8.3/9 IP as a sophomore and 7.8/9 IP in the Cape Cod League, Nicolas walked just seven hitters in 23 innings in a shortened 2020 season.

His last start in a Ball State uniform was a seven-inning, 17-strikeout effort where he walked one and allowed one hit against Sacred Heart. Outings like that get you noticed and the Miami Marlins weren’t going to let Nicolas and his powerful fastball fall to another team.

The Marlins are adding a high-upside arm with a powerful fastball (touches 100 mph), a swing and miss slider, and an improving curveball/changeup that could help Nicolas become a starting pitcher as he moves through the organization.

The floor for Nicolas is a high-impact, late-inning reliever with an overpowering fastball and wipeout slider.

Nicolas is the second Ball State player to be drafted since the Cardinals saw three players go in the 2016 draft. Pitcher Drey Jameson was selected 34th overall by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 2019 draft.

Nicolas wasn’t one of the three Ball State pitchers selected First Team All-MAC in 2019 but now finds himself in the professional ranks as a Miami Marlin.