Prep Baseball Report

ProCase 2019 - A Look Back at SS/P TJ Nichols

Blaine Clemmens
Northern CA Director of Scouting


PODCAST: Northern CA ProCase

The 2019 Northern CA ProCase was held last June 9th at Delta College in Stockton and it featured all but one of the local talents who are in the mix for the upper rounds of the 2020 draft. Of course MLB hasn't announced a draft date yet and we don't know the number of rounds, which could be five at a minimum.

We've begun to build the roster for the 2020 ProCase, where the players will again be put through a pro-style workout with various stats/data recorded during the workouts which can be found HERE from 2019, as well as competitive at-bats/game-type action. 

If the event cannot be held at Folsom Lake College due to Covid-19 precautions we have a contingency plan to hold it at Islanders Field in Lathrop. We have NOT adjusted the date at this time and are constantly surveying potential necessary changes. We do have alternative future dates/location set.

Click on the highlighted player name which is linked to his profile with more video and notes, etc.


SS/P T.J. Nichols (Oakmont HS) - Report from 6/9/19

T.J. Nichols (Arizona commit) is one of the fast risers in the area, particularly on the mound. We saw the lanky/wiry 6-foot-3 160-pound (now 6-foot-4, 175-pounds) on the mound at the Fresno Easter Classic, where he touched 93 mph in a relief appearance, which corroborated with some intel we were getting on him during the spring season. Nichols not going to stop at 93 mph on his was toward the 2020 MLB Draft, that much is pretty clear.

He's got a whip quick arm that works free and easy from an overhand slot. He works down the slope with quick pace but good body control and lands on a firm/stable stride leg. In this setting Nichols faced three batters and pounded the zone with all his pitches. The fastball was up to 92 mph and sat right at about 90 for his outing, with late arm side run and some down angle. The slider at times had late tilt and occasionally was a little up, but in an environment such as this it's understandable to overthrow a bit. He got one left-handed hitter to freeze for strike three with a late biting slider. His change-up is also a usable pitch and comes out around 10 mph off the fastball. 

As good as his arm is and as good of an athlete as he is (ran 6.79 60-yard), he is still developing on the mound. There are mechanical adjustments he can make that will allow him to work easier/more efficiently and still tap into that powerful arm of his. Working toward better extension and finish (tends to finish quite upright) is one area he can improve and as he gains lower body strength, that should be easily attainable. When he gets up to 95 mph next spring (or earlier), we won't be surprised, not in the least. (Update... he was up to 96 at Area Codes and in the brief spring season)

As a position player Nichols can stand on his own, especially as a potentially elite level glove man up the middle. He's got that long lanky body type that works with fluid actions. Defensively he has an excellent first step, with light bouncy feet and above average range, which with his big arm (didn't really let it fly in the workout) allows him to make difficult plays that many other shortstops can't. His hands are extremely soft and he's a very confident fielder. The throws track across the diamond and stay on line. He's a taller shortstop but he can and will stay there.

Offensively he has a quiet set-up and approach, with minimal stride that takes place with a slight foot lift. His bat path is pretty flat and at his best he was spraying line drives, making good contact with extension and staying behind the ball. The power potential is fairly modest at this time (89 exit velocity w/wood off a tee) but given his athleticism and hand speed, along with a body that likely has quite a bit of size and strength coming in the future, there will be some gains in his power potential. During his junior year he put up very good hitting numbers, though the power production was modest.

Whether he's a pitcher or position player after high school is yet to be determined and if he does get to campus, he's going to be a two-way player. As for his draft stock, it would seem likely that given his velocity and body type, scouts will be going in to see him on the mound. However, being drafted as a position player and being given a shot to develop isn't out of the realm of possibility, as teams will already know he's got the chops to pitch if he doesn't hit enough. Time will tell and it will be fun to see what next spring has in store for Nichols.


Of course given the Covid-19 pandemic, future event dates/locations could change. If they do, we will alert all registered players and make adjustments to our calendar. 

Norcal Underclass Games (INVITE-ONLY) CA 06/06 Islanders Field - Lathrop
Northern California ProCase (INVITE ONLY) CA 06/13 Folsom Lake College or Islanders Field
SoCal Underclass Games (INVITE ONLY) CA 06/13 Hart Park
SoCal ProCase (INVITE ONLY) CA 06/14 Hart Park
California State Games CA 07/25 Southern California