Modesto, California —— At the top of this post, watch our May 7, 2017 mechanics video of Seattle Mariners top right-handed pitching prospect Nick Neidert, taken from his start that day for the California League’s Modesto Nuts against the visiting Lake Elsinore Storm. To visit Nick Neidert’s player page, please click here. And please subscribe to the Baseball Census YouTube channel here for hundreds more videos like this one.
Nick Neidert scouting report notes
Just 20 years old, Nick Neidert has been thus far handled with care by the Seattle Mariners after they made him their second round draft pick in 2015. But now in his third pro year, spending the summer with the Mariners’ High-A affiliate in the California League, the Modesto Nuts, it looks like the gloves are finally starting to come off for the Georgia native. Ten starts into the season now after his stellar work against Rancho Cucamonga on Tuesday night, Nick Neidert is now 5-0 with a 3.20 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP. Most encouragingly over his 50.2 innings pitched, he has whiffed 56 hitters while allowing just nine walks. It’s rare to see that much poise and command from such a young pitcher at this level, and it bodes well for what’s to come.
The biggest sign of improvement in Neidert recently can be seen in his spiking strikeout rate; after two underwhelming years of strikeout totals (23 strikeouts in 35.1 innings pitched rookie ball, and then 69 strikeouts in 91.0 innings pitched in Low-A Clinton), Neidert is starting to understand how to convert his plus command and four-pitch repertoire into missing bats, with 56 strikeouts already in 50.1 innings pitched. There are a few reasons for that, not the least of which is the way Neidert is successfully hiding the ball from hitters right up until release with an interesting mechanical quick.
Here’s a good view of it:
He has an innate ability to hide the ball while still getting the timing right to stay on top of his pitches and let his arm come all the way through before driving to the plate; in turn, that allows him the great extension he’s getting on his changeup right now, which is arguably his best off-speed pitch. But his changeup isn’t why he’s missing more bats—it’s his curveball, and to a lesser degree his slider, that have both become sharp pitches with good feel.
A lot of young pitchers with both a curve and a slider run into the trap of the two pitches slowly turning into one sluvre-like offering, but Neidert has enough arm speed to delineate the two. His curve, with an 11-to-5 break out of his high-three-quarters arm slot, comes in right around 80 mph and has become a go-to pitch against right-handed batters. And while his slider, which generally seems to sit 82-84 mph, isn’t quite as consistent as the curve, it’s late break and sweeping action has given him a wrinkle to go down and in hard to lefties when needed, too. In turn, the slider and changeup, which runs down and arm-side the other way, play well off each other against lefties, and they give Neidert multiple looks without worrying about a left-handed batter sitting out over the plate and waiting for everything to run arm-side.
All of this is tremendously enhanced by his command profile, and a consistent (88-92 mph, top out at 94 mph) fastball that he can throw for a strike whenever he needs. Neidert has always been a control artist through his entire professional career, but in my looks, the Seattle Mariners’ righty is rapidly improving in command, too—of all his pitches. That gives him more than enough to run through a lineup multiple times, and his ability to consistently throw strike one typically allows him to dictate the majority of at-bats in a game.
Long term, MLB Pipeline likes Neidert as a potential fourth starter, citing his lack of size and merely average offerings across the board as the reason for not projecting higher. I get that, and if Nick Neidert becomes a back-end starter, I wouldn’t be surprised. But it also wouldn’t surprise me if he out-plays that projection even just a little bit because his ability to command every pitch is so far more advanced than what I’ve seen from most 20 year olds at any level, let alone High-A, and in a hitter’s outpost like the Cal League. The Seattle Mariners still have some lengthening to do with him, and even as well as he’s throwing now, he’s still probably a safe bet to stay in Modesto for most of this season. There’s no need to rush him at this stage. But an early 2019 ticket to the big leagues and a potential mid-rotation (#3) starter spot could well be in his future if his development continues on this plane.
To visit Nick Neidert’s player page, please click here.
Nick Neidert scouting report: 140 characters or less
With four pitches and exceptional command, Nick Neidert is the Mariners’ best pitching prospect and a potential future mid-rotation arm.
Nick Neidert scouting report video
Here’s a look at our most recent Nick Neidert baseball video, taken from that May 7 start against the Lake Elsinore Storm at Modesto’s John Thurman Field:
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Nick Neidert scouting report GIFs
In addition to our video clips, we broke out some Nick Neidert baseball GIFs for a deeper look at his mechanics, etc.:
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In this Seattle Mariners / Nick Neidert baseball scouting report: