JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Jacksonville Suns left-handed pitcher Justin Nicolino has been named the 2014 Southern League Most Outstanding Pitcher, announced by the league office on Friday afternoon.
In 27 starts this season for the Suns, Nicolino is 13-4 with a 2.98 ERA in 163 and a third innings pitched. Nicolino leads the Southern League in wins with 13, and his ERA of 2.98 is the second lowest in the circuit.
"It's an honor, but I couldn't have done it this year without every single one of those guys in the clubhouse and in the dugout," Nicolino said. "It's a really good honor and I'm really fortunate and honored by it."
Nicolino also has the league's second most complete games (2), is tied for first in shutouts (2), second in innings pitched (163.1), lowest in WHIP (1.10), highest winning percentage (.765), lowest walks per nine innings (1.05), and fewest baserunners per nine innings (10.14).
The award adds to the list of accolades for Baseball America's No. 4 Marlins prospect Nicolino, who earlier this season was named a Southern League Midseason All-Star, and the league also announced he was the "Best Left-Handed Pitcher" for postseason All-Stars. The postseason Southern League All-Star honor is the fourth time in his four-year career. Nicolino was also twice named a Southern League pitcher of the Week on June 23 and August 4.
Nicolino becomes the eighth Sun to win the honor, joining a list of: Brian Holman (1987), Brian Barnes (1990), Jim Converse (1992), Francisco Cordero (1999), Joel Hanrahan (2003), Spike Lundberg (2006), and in the Marlins era Tom Koehler in 2010, who was also coached by Suns pitching coach John Duffy.
"Even from last year Duffy and I got to know each other and got to know each other a little bit, and I knew I was coming here this year so we were on the same page a lot," Nicolino said. "Whenever you have that, especially even with the catchers - J.T. Realmuto, Wilfredo Gimenez, and Austin Barnes, there's no complaints."
In 2013 Nicolino was a Florida State League Midseason and Postseason All-Star, as well as the Florida State League Pitcher of the Year. In 2012 Nicolino was a Midwest League Midseason and Postseason All-Star, as well as the TOPPS Midwest League Pitcher of the Year. In his first full professional season in 2011 Nicolino was a Northwest League Postseason All-Star, as well as a Baseball America Short Season All-Star.
Nicolino was originally selected by the Toronto Blue Jays in the second round of the 2010 draft out of University High School in Orlando, Florida. He was acquired by the Marlins organization following the 2012 season in a 12-player trade with the Blue Jays.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.