Lost and Found: Blue Jays Prospect Sean Nolin

Editor’s note: Lost and Found is an offseason series in which one underrated prospect from each of the 30 MLB clubs will be discussed in a short, snappy post.

Lost: Sean Nolin had this unenviable scenario unfold in 2010: He was drafted after that Noah Syndergaard-Aaron Sanchez-Justin Nicolino trio in 2010 and, unlike each of those top pitching prospects, did not begin his career as smoothly.

2010-2011: 32 G — 28 GS — 4-6 W-L — 3.82 ERA — .262 .AVG — 149-41 K-BB — 129 2/3 IP at Rookie-level Bluefield, Auburn and Class A Lansing

Found: The sixth-round choice turned improved dramatically in his third pro season, doing many what many elite prospects do: upping their game against higher-level competition. His opponents’ batting average has decreased at each new level, including the .170 mark he held Eastern League (AA) hitters to this year, his restorative year.

2012: 20 G — 18 S — 10-0 — 2.04 ERA — .218 .AVG — 108-27 K-BB — 101 1/3 IP at Class A Advanced Dunedin, Double-A New Hampshire

So Nolin was lost, now he is found. Now, about the Blue Jays’ returns: Soon to turn 23 and now Toronto’s No. 19 prospect, Nolin deserves to be in that Syndergaard-Sanchez-Nicolino group. His low-to-mid-90-mph fastball is a touch below Syndergaard’s and Sanchez’s, and his changeup is almost or about as good as Nicolino’s, which is saying something. The less-lauded lefty also has immense confidence in his curveball, while his slider has perhaps the greatest potential to improve. He should begin ’13 at Double-A, which puts him a full year ahead of his fellow farmhands in development. So he may actually be the first of the four to get to the Majors, and that’s where he’s headed.

Mark LoMoglio/MiLB.com

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