Miami Marlins – No. 60
Born: November 22, 1991|
Nicolino attended University High School in Orlando, Florida. Playing for the school's baseball team, he had a 4-2 win–loss record and a 1.95 earned run average (ERA) with 74 strikeouts in 44 innings pitched in his senior year. He committed to attend the University of Virginia on a college baseball scholarship. Projected as a third or fourth round pick in the 2010 Major League Baseball Draft, Nicolino expected to honor the commitment.
The Toronto Blue Jays selected Nicolino in the second round of the 2010 Draft, with the 80th overall selection. He signed with the Blue Jays for a reported $615,000 signing bonus, rather than enroll at Virginia. Nicolino made his professional debut for the Vancouver Canadiens of the Class A-Short Season Northwest League in 2011, posting a 5-1 win–loss record and a 1.03 ERA. The Blue Jays promoted him to the Lansing Lugnuts of the Class A Midwest League late in the season, and he pitched to a 1-1 record and a 3.12 ERA in three starts for Lansing. Nicolino returned to Lansing for the 2012 season. He had a 10-4 win–loss record with a Midwest League-best 2.46 ERA and 119 strikeouts in 124 1⁄3 innings pitched. His teammates voted him as the Lugnuts' Most Valuable Player, and he was named to the Midwest League Postseason All-Star team.
On November 19, 2012, the Blue Jays traded Nicolino, Adeiny Hechavarria, Henderson Álvarez, Yunel Escobar, Jeff Mathis, Anthony DeSclafani, and Jake Marisnick to the Miami Marlins in exchange for Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson, José Reyes, John Buck, and Emilio Bonifacio. On January 29, 2013, Nicolino was named number 72 on MLB's Top 100 Prospects list. He began the 2013 season with the Jupiter Hammerheads of the Class A-Advanced Florida State League (FSL). After pitching to a 5-2 record with a 2.23 ERA, and being named a FSL All-Star, he received a promotion to the Jacksonville Suns of the Class AA Southern League in July. Pitching for Jacksonville in 2014, Nicolino had a went 14-4 with a 2.85 ERA in 28 starts, and was named the Marlins' Minor League Pitcher of the Year. After the 2014 season, the Marlins added Nicolino to their 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 draft.
- Hightower, Kyle (June 17, 2010). "Former University ace Justin Nicolino ready to begin pro baseball journey". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved October 31, 2013.
- "Varsity roll call: Blue Jays sign Justin Nicolino". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved December 18, 2014.
- "Blue Jays add to draft signings | bluejays.com: Official Info". Mlb.mlb.com. May 24, 2013. Retrieved October 31, 2013.
- "Lansing Lugnuts Profile: Justin Nicolino, a left-handed pitcher from Orlando". MLive.com. Retrieved December 18, 2014.
- "Lansing Lugnuts pitching prospects earn high praise in Sports Illustrated article". MLive.com. Retrieved December 18, 2014.
- "Lansing Lugnuts can look back proudly at record-setting 2012 season". MLive.com. Retrieved December 18, 2014.
- "Four former Lugnuts involved in blockbuster trade between Toronto Blue Jays and Miami Marlins". MLive.com. Retrieved December 18, 2014.
- "MLB approves mega-deal between Blue Jays and Marlins". TSN.ca. November 19, 2012. Retrieved November 19, 2012.
- Fordin, Spencer (January 29, 2013). "Sanchez, Osuna named to Top 100 Prospects list". MLB.com. Retrieved January 30, 2013.
- Nick Kappel. "In Justin Nicolino, Hammerheads have promising pitcher, engaging personality". TCP. Retrieved December 18, 2014.
- "Suns' Justin Nicolino picks up his first Double-A win". jacksonville.com. Retrieved December 18, 2014.
- "Realmuto and Nicolino 2014 Marlins Minor League Award Winners - Jacksonville Suns News". Jacksonville Suns. Retrieved December 18, 2014.
- "Nicolino, Realmuto win Minor League awards". Miami Marlins. Retrieved December 18, 2014.
- Fox Sports. "Miami Marlins add Justin Nicolino, other prospects to 40-man roster". FOX Sports. Retrieved December 18, 2014.
- "Miami Marlins' Justin Nicolino headed to New Orleans Zephyrs - MiLB.com News - The Official Site of Minor League Baseball". MiLB.com. March 3, 2015. Retrieved March 11, 2015.