Coming to the United States for your first professional baseball season brings with it a lot of changes and adjustments that need to be made. Jose Nin weathered his way through those obstacles pretty well and put up strong numbers in the Gulf Coast League, pitching in 16 games, all in relief.
The 21-year old saved seven games for the GCL Phillies and struck out 15 in 17 2/3 innings of work, posting a 1.02 ERA. In limited time with Williamsport (three games), he also had success with a 2.70 ERA over 3 1/3 innings. The Phillies gave him a quick look with Clearwater when they were in need of a fresh arm and Nin was hit around pretty well in his 1 2/3 innings of work, giving up three hits, including a home run, but was able to keep the real damage to just one run in the outing.
Nin is a guy that doesn't stress about hitters making contact against him, as long as it's not good, solid contact, which it generally isn't. Opposing batters hit just .225 against him last season and his BABIP was a steady .258 for the season. Right-handed hitters hit just .220 against Nin and generally have trouble being able to turn on his pitches to pull them down the line. Most of the pitchers in the lower levels were striking out a higher percentage of batters, but Nin was content to let his fielders do their job behind him, while he focused on keeping the ball in the park and not giving up free passes, which is still somewhat of an item on the to do list.
In his first season in the DSL, Nin walked nearly 3.4 batters per nine innings, but with improved mechanics, improved that to 3.1 the following season and last season, again worked with his mechanics and got it down to 1.9 walks per nine innings between the three levels that he pitched at throughout the year. The reduction in walks dropped his WHIP to 1.02 last season.
When he has his mechanics are in check, Nin throws heavy pitches and keeps them down in the zone, but if the old habits come back, he can't locate his pitches and tends to lose movement, which leaves the ball generally out of the strike zone or being hit hard by a batter.
At 6' 2" and 170 pounds, Nin doesn't have the big, bulky build that the Phillies generally like in a pitcher. His arm seems strong enough though and his size hasn't been an issue so far, but he's only in the lower levels of the minors. Nin's fastball is generally in the low-90s with decent movement. The arsenal also includes a slider and a change-up, both of which are coming along, but don't figure to be huge weapons for him. It's the lack of those strong secondary pitches that made the Phillies drop their plans to use Nin as a starter, which they did on occasion while he was pitching in the Dominican Republic. With his size and pitch repertoire, Nin is likely to have better success pitching as a reliever in his career.
Jose Nin career stats
|All Levels (3 Seasons)||3||5||2.67||45||5||9||81.0||1.370||9.4||0.2||2.9||7.0||2.42|