Mike Nikorak | RHP
Nikorak, 18, went from interesting draft prospect to elite draft prospect on the showcase circuit last summer, when he overwhelmed top high school competition and wowed scouts. At Stroudsburg High School (Pennsylvania) this spring, Nikorak pitched to a 1.82 ERA with a 50/21 K/BB in 29.2 innings. His older brother Steve pitched at Temple and in the White Sox system briefly. Nikorak is committed to Alabama.
The knock on Nikorak last year was his slight build, but he hit the weight room hard last offseason and now stands a sturdy 6-foot-5 and 205 pounds. His fastball is one of the best in the draft class, sitting 92-94 mph with movement and touching 97 mph fairly regularly. Nikorak did a better job of maintaining his velocity deep into games this spring thanks to the added muscle. His hard curveball is a hammer and a true out pitch on his best days, but he’s still working to be consistent with it. Like many high schoolers, his changeup is very much a work in progress. Nikorak has an easy delivery and the ball jumps out of his hand, and his control is better than his walk total indicates, but he does still need to improve his command, which is not uncommon for pitchers from cold weather states.
Nikorak was ranked as the 12th, 15th, and 16th best prospect in the draft class by Keith Law (subs. req’d), MLB.com, and Baseball America in their latest rankings, respectively. Both Law and Baseball America said the Yankees have interest in the right-hander in recent mock drafts. Nikorak checks all the boxes for a high school pitcher — he has size, a great fastball, and a potentially great breaking ball — which is why there was talk of him being a top five pick earlier this spring. The Yankees pick 16th and 30th this year, but it’ll have to be 16th or bust for Nikorak. He might not even be on the board for that pick. No way he gets to that 30th pick.