PITTSBURGH – Former Tom Sox pitcher Kyle Nicolas’s contract was selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates today, September 19. Nicolas’s callup is the Tom Sox’s third in the last month, joining 2018 teammate Evan Justice and 2017 two-way star Carson Spiers.
Nicolas joins the Pirates after a role shift in August, where he moved from a starting role to a reliever. After starting five of his first eight games with the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians, Nicolas moved to a bullpen role where he has shined. Since August 1, Nicolas has allowed only five runs in 22 innings, striking out 31 batters. After posting a 7.80 ERA over his first eight appearances for the Indians, it has dropped to 5.37 entering today – including a 2.05 ERA in 15 games since the start of August.
Nicolas starred for the Tom Sox during the 2018 season, where the ‘Sox finished as VBL Runners-Up to New Market. Nicolas finished the season with a stellar 2.01 ERA across six starts, striking out 19 batters. Across 22.1 innings, he allowed only five earned runs and held opponents to a .160 batting average. He allowed multiple runs in only one of his starts and held opponents to three or fewer hits in each of them.
Nicolas opened his summer with the best of his six starts, shutting out the Woodstock River Bandits across four innings on the road and striking out six. After his only start allowing multiple runs on June 14 against Harrisonburg, he followed it with four-straight starts of shutout or one-run ball. A pair of those featured four strikeouts each and he did not allow an extra-base hit over his final four outings. His final start before hitting his 22-innings limit came against Waynesboro on July 14, where he pitched a pair of shutout innings to help the ‘Sox to an 11-1 rout of the Generals.
Nicolas starred for three seasons at Ball State, pitching for known arm talent developer Rich Maloney. He was a human strikeout machine during his time for the Cardinals, racking up 82 strikeouts in 55.1 innings in 2019 before tallying 37 across 23 innings in 2020. He was on an All-American course in 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic canceled the season, leading the MAC with his 37 punchouts. 46% of those came in one game on March 8, where he struck out 17 against Sacred Heart. The 17 punchouts tied for the most in D-I in 2020.
Following the 2020 season, Nicolas declared for the MLB Draft, where he was picked 61st overall by the Marlins – at the time, the highest draft pick in Tom Sox history. He was Charlottesville’s lone draft pick during the shortened five-round draft. He was profiled in a Tom Sox Conversations interview shortly before the draft.
Nicolas becomes the fourth Tom Sox player to make it to Major League Baseball, following Vinnie Pasquantino in 2022 and the aforementioned Justice and Spiers earlier this summer. He is currently ranked as Pittsburgh’s #26 prospect by MLB Pipeline and 14th by FanGraphs. The Tom Sox organization congratulates Kyle on his callup and wishes nothing but success in the future!