Top 100 College Prospects: #93, Cesar Nicholas

Cesar Nicolas is a slick-fielding first baseman that led the SEC in fielding percentage in 2003 and is an imposing figure in the batter's box. A senior and a leader on the field, Nicolas is the complete package and looks to help the Vanderbilt Commodores win an SEC title in '04. He ranks #93 among our Top 100 College Draft Prospects.

Born in Queens, New York, Cesar moved to Miami at a young age and grew up a Florida Marlins fan. He is a great all-around athlete, lettering in baseball, football, and basketball during his high school career. Cesar led Westminster Christian of Dade County to three straight state baseball titles. His brother Jose plays professional baseball in the Independent League. He collected just 14 at-bats his freshman year and began his sophomore season as the starting third baseman and started all the games for the Commodores. Nicolas boasted a very respectable .389 on-base percentage in his first full year of collegiate baseball, including collecting 13 hit-by-pitches. He also hit safely in 35 of his 51 games played that season.

Nicolas followed his impressive 2002 season with another great year as a junior in 2003, successfully making the switch from third base to first base. In fact, he did very well defensively at 1B, committing just two errors in 497 chances all year (.995 fielding percentage). He combined a great offensive season with his defensive prowess, hitting seven home runs and collecting 21 multi-hit games (including a stretch of six straight multi-hit games). Nicolas will be manning first base for Vanderbilt in 2004 and will look to continue his ever-improving hitting skills.

Year

Team

AVG

AB

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

R

BB

SO

SB

2001

Vanderbilt

.143

14

2

1

0

0

2

2

5

4

0

2002

Vanderbilt

.274

190

52

12

0

6

35

32

24

37

2

2003

Vanderbilt

.313

201

63

12

0

7

33

28

22

28

2



Batting and Power. Nicolas has elevated himself into one of the better hitters in college baseball. He is an advanced hitter who can hit for average and some power. He won the HR Derby in the Cape Cod League this past summer and finished second in the same derby two years ago. He projects to be a 20 HR guy at the Major League level.

Base Running and Speed. Nobody will ever confuse Nicolas with Rickey Henderson. Can steal a base if needed.

Defense. Nicolas is a very good defensive first baseman with good range and soft hands. At third base he has an average arm with good carry.

Projection. Nicolas projects to be a starting first baseman at the Major League Level. Has adequate power, but not your prototypical power at 1B. Think Sean Casey instead of Carlos Delgado for a good MLB comparison, but he does have the body frame to to get bigger and develop more power.

First Basemen

School

Jeff Larish

Arizona State

Josh Fields

Oklahoma State

Wes Whisler

UCLA

Joey Metropoulos

Southern California

Adam Lind

South Alabama

C.J. Smith

Florida

Chris Carter

Stanford

Kyle Larsen

Washington

Billy Becher

New Mexico State

Jim Fasano

Richmond

Cesar Nicolas

Vanderbilt



COMMENTS


There are outstanding first base prospect in college baseball heading into this year's draft. Jeff Larish and Josh Fields appear to be the cream of the crop, while Billy Becher of New Mexico State looks to prove his 2003 season was no fluke. If you are looking for "sleepers" among this group, Chris Carter and Jim Fasano could wind up being the better first base prospects out of this class.

1. Jeff Larish - The top hitting prospect in all of college baseball. A Player of the Year candidate, Larish hits to all fields with power and enters 2004 a career .356 hitter. Has 39 career multi-hit games. More astounding is his 29 multi-RBI games. One to watch.

2. Josh Fields - QB of the Cowboys' football team, Fields has been used primarily as a 3B as of late but has played 1B in his career. Limited defensive skills should move him back to 1B as a pro. Has hit .383 and .358 his first two seasons. Hits for power and has good speed.

3. Wes Whisler - Both a pitcher and a first baseman, Whisler's future is as a hitter. Led UCLA with 70 hits in 2003, a "down" year for him after hitting 17 home runs as a freshman. Sports a .401 on-base percentage in his career entering the 2004 season.

4. Joey Metropoulos - One of the several good hitting prospects playing first base in college. Hits for power, average, and knows how to get on base. Enters 2004 with 24 career home runs and has not hit below .321 in any year.

5. Adam Lind - Only a sophomore this season for South Alabama, Lind was named to Baseball America's second team honors for Freshman All-American. Batted .349 with 8 HRs. Has slight build but room to grow.

6. C.J. Smith - This Florida Gator has big time power, knocking 17 home runs in 2003 which ranked second in the SEC. Smith hits to all fields and has a good batting eye. Not known for his defense, Smith committed 7 errors at 1B last season.

7. Chris Carter - A junior for the Stanford Cardinal, Carter possesses big time power, clubbing 17 HRs in just 208 career at-bats entering 2004. Missed two months of 2003 with a shoulder injury. Has good batting eye and great work ethic.

8. Kyle Larsen - This junior hit .342 as a freshman for the Huskies and has good power. Has a career on-base percentage above .400 and entered his junior year with a career .998 fielding percentage. He's got the goods.

9. Billy Becher - Had unbelievable junior year for New Mexico State in 2003. Led entire nation in HRs (32) and RBI (118). Posted an incredible 1382 OPS . He'll need to prove his numbers have nothing to do with the thin air of New Mexico State.

10. Cesar Nicolas - Good hitter, great defensively, and excellent leadership. Has tremendous power and is still developing.

11. Jim Fasano - Big, strong kid. Has excellent power. Hit .344 with 16 HRs in 2002 . A-10 Player of the Year in 2003.

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