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Under the Radar: Jose and Luis Nin

Will a future White Sox bullpen be dressed to the Nins?

Nin Shall Pass: Seen here with the GCL Phillies, Jose Nin is now making a name for himself with Kannapolis.
BeGreen90 / Flickr

Under the Radar details players in the Chicago White Sox system who may have suffered setbacks, gotten lost in the shuffle, or just haven’t surfaced as significant prospects as of yet. Next up are Jose Nin and Luis Nin, brothers who are closing for the Kannapolis Intimidators and DSL White Sox, respectively.

Jose Nin (RHP) — Kannapolis Intimidators

Though Jose Nin has only been pitching in the White Sox organization for two years, he has been playing professionally since signed by the Philadelphia Phillies on Jan. 22, 2014. He and his brother, Luis, are natives of Barahona, Dominican Republic, which is also the home of Julio Lugo and Edinson Volquez.

Jose’s first two years in professional baseball were spent with the DSL Phillies, where he combined for a 3.09 ERA and 1.51 WHIP in 58 13 innings of work, walking 21 (7.5 BB%) and striking out 46 (16.4 K%) while allowing 67 hits (.273 OBA). His numbers seemed to improve in 2016, as he pitched for three Phillies squads that year and ultimately making it to their A+ team in Clearwater. In 20 games totaling 22 23 innings that year where he combined for a 1.59 ERA and 1.02 WHIP, Jose surrendered just 18 hits (.231 OBA), five walks (5.7 BB%), and 17 strikeouts (19.5 K%). He also saved seven games in the Phillies organization last year. Despite those impressive numbers, Nin was released just prior to the 2017 season.

The Sox signed him on June 8 last year, and he spent the full season with the DSL White Sox. In saving 12 games last year in 40 13 innings of work, he posted a 2.68 ERA and 1.14 WHIP while allowing 37 hits (.252 OBA) and just nine walks (5.5 BB%) while punching out 28 hitters (17.1 K%). While the numbers were good, they were relatively unexceptional considering he was three years older than the DSL’s average age.

Because of his age, Jose was promoted past the AZL White Sox and Great Falls and began 2018 with Kannapolis, where he’s posted even better results than he did last year in the Dominican League. In 32 games (29 finished) through August 23, he’s amassed eight saves over 40 13 innings (equaling last year’s total), with a 1.79 ERA and 1.04 WHIP. While in Kannapolis this year, he’s only allowed 31 hits (.211 OBA) and walked 11 (6.8 BB%) while striking out 35 (21.6 K%). Thus, even though he’s pitching against a more age-appropriate league (he’s 23), his numbers have basically improved across the board.

Luis Nin (RHP) — DSL White Sox

Born on November 30, 1996, Luis is 17 months younger than Jose. After signing with the San Diego Padres in February of last year, Luis pitched one season with the Padres DSL squad, appearing for 18 innings and garnering three saves. During that span, he allowed 14 hits (.209 OBA), nine walks (11.4 BB%) and 18 strikeouts (22.8 K%). The Padres allowed Luis to enter minor league free agency, and he was promptly signed by the White Sox on June 8, 2018.

This year in 14 games (13 finished) for the DSL White Sox, Luis has amassed a 1.89 ERA, 1.26 WHIP and five saves over 19 innings. In that time, he has surrendered just 14 hits (.209 OBA) and 10 walks (12.7 BB%) while delivering 21 strikeouts (26.6 K%).

What do the Nins bring to the table?

Jose is the larger of the two brothers (six-foot-three, 220 pounds compared to Luis at six-foot-two, 185), though both have similar stuff — a fastball (max 92-94 mph)/slider mix. Jose clearly has shown better control, though Luis has garnered more strikeouts while allowing fewer hits. Luis seems to have a more effective changeup than his older brother, as lefties have batted .200 against his offerings (righties hit him at .214); lefties, on the other hand, have hit just .257 against Jose, with righties hitting just .169. Thus, while Luis may have a more effective changeup, Jose actually may have a more effective cutter.

Though neither brother has the potentially dominating stuff of others in the system (Tyler Johnson, Zack Burdi, Ryan Burr, Ian Hamilton, Jose Ruiz), both may carve their own niche in the White Sox bullpen in two or three years. Their ceilings seem to be that of the Juan Minaya/Gregory Infante mode — Jose’s strengths and weaknesses are reminiscent of Infante, while Luis’s profile reminds me a bit more of Minaya.

As for 2019, I see Jose earning a promotion next year to Winston-Salem and Luis should follow in his brother’s footsteps and rapidly ascend to Kannapolis.