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2015 Phillies Draft Profile: Mike Nikorak, RHP

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The (relatively) local product could be an underslot option. Then again, he also has the hottest Fastball in the Draft. He can run it up to 100 MPH and he's got a big, durable frame.

Not Nikorak
Not Nikorak
Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Nikorak is from Stroudsburg, PA. He's 6'5" 215 lbs. (or 225 lbs. there's about 3 different weights floating around this Spring, all of them match up with the picture of a country strong looking kid). He has a College commitment to Alabama, which he is quite unlikely to fulfill. This time last year, Nikorak was a relative unknown to most, then he went on the Summer showcase circuit and blew everyone away with a mid-90's fastball, drawing immediate comparisons to last year's country strong Righty with high heat, Tyler Kolek. Nikorak doesn't quite have Kolek's ceiling, but he's not far off and likely has a higher floor as he has feel for 3 Pitches and at worst can be a workhorse #3 Starter.

Mechanics is where I like to start with Pitchers and that means video. In the video below (again from Jheremy Brown who's kind of omnipresent) you can see Nikorak super smooth, effortless delivery. He repeats it and unlike the last two profiles I don't wait for his top half to twist clear off his body. He drives with his back leg, rotates, his timing is consistent, he uses his whole body to generate his heat. It's probably my favorite delivery in this draft. I have no complaints, he has a 3/4 release, but thanks to his height he still manages to get great downward plane on his stuff.

His best pitch is his Fastball. Official readings have put him 92-94 able to work up to 97, but there were stories a few weeks back about him having hit 100. I haven't seen that in a reliable enough place, but 97 is awesome heat from a High Schooler. There isn't really projection left, so 97 is likely where he tops out, which is fine, he'd rate out about a 70 Fastball, which is Plus. He throws both a 4-seam and 2-seam with downward plane and armside run (in on Righties, especially the 2-seamer).He has good control of the pitch at present.

His second best offering is a Curveball, which is a little inconsistent and sometimes wanders into Slurve territory (as a result of that 3/4 delivery), when he maintains it at 11-5 (on the clock face) is flashes Plus potential, but he occasional slips to a 10-4 shape leaving it up in the zone a bit and his break gets a little loopy. A professional Pitching coach can help get that release consistent and keep it 11 to 5 (hopefully) with tight break. He flashes that now and if consistent it's an easy 60 grade Curve or better.

The Changeup is the furthest from finished. The problem he has is the competition he faces allows him to go almost all Fastball and occasional Curve, so the Change barely gets tested. Reports are very good on his feel for the pitch, especially given the lack of use in games. Good tumble and his mechanics are close enough to his Fastball mechanics to work.This is the risky pitch (almost always is for High Schoolers). It could be a 60 or better pitch or he could struggle with it and only get to fringe average. Even then, it can keep Lefties honest and he could work as a #3.

Nikorak has good control of all 3 Pitches, for the most part, and can locate the Fastball pretty accurately for a High Schooler. He's likely to top out as a #2 Starter, but there's a very slim chance of #1 potential is everything break perfectly. The floor is #3 Starter. Good comps might be Jamison Taillon or Noah Syndergaard. Nikorak is a good athlete, something the Phillies have always valued strongly, and while I refer to him as an underslot guy, he's had enough helium, that he may actually go in the 10th pick area by draft day.