The Arizona Fall League season finished up a few weeks ago with the Surprise Saguaros winning the fall league championship. Brett Nicholas, the 25 year old first baseman/catcher, was part of that championship team. Also, Brett Nicholas was part of the 22nd Fall Star game this past November on the Fall Star West team playing with fellow Texas Rangers prospect Jorge Alfaro.
Nov 2, 2013; Surprise, AZ, USA; Texas Rangers first baseman Brett Nicholas against the East during the Fall Stars Game at Surprise Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Brett Nicholas is a name that may be unfamiliar with many Texas Rangers, but you may soon be. Nicholas is one of the top players currently in the minor league system. Although he isn’t on the top 100 prospect list or the top 20 for the Texas Rangers, Nicholas is a solid all around player.
Nicholas was drafted in the 6th by the Texas Rangers in the 2010 June draft from the University of Missouri Columbia. Since that time Nicholas has played in the minors with the Spokane Indians, Myrtle Beach Pelicans and the Frisco Rough Riders.
For the past 2 years Brett Nicholas has been at the top of the league in batting average (4th in 2013), doubles (3rd in 2012) and home runs.
In 2013, Nicholas played in Frisco for the Rough Riders, near Dallas, Texas. Brett Nicholas was ranked 4th in batting average (.289) in the Texas League. He also appeared in the Texas League All-star game and homered in that game also.
You start to see a theme here, Brett Nicholas is an up and rising star in the system, he’s a player that is able to play first base and catch. Also, he’s a power hitter who can smash a ball out of the park. He’s taken several honors this year with the all-star game appearances, MVP of the Fall Star game and part of a championship team.
This year he is eligible for the Rule 5 draft, which will take place on December 12th at the annual Winter Meetings.
The Texas Rangers could use a player like Brett Nicholas. He has been playing primarily at first base for the past several years but, Brett Nicholas does have a long history as the catcher position. Currently, he is in the Dominican Republic getting some extra time behind the plate working as catcher. During his 10 day trip he will have a chance to focus solely on catching.
Brett Nicholas took some time for a short questions and answers for Nolan Writin.
Q: We’ll start with the most recent team you were on, the Surprise Saguaros. First off, great job on being selected to the Fall star game and winning the MVP (homered twice that game). Also, congrats to your team on winning Arizona Fall League Championship. What was your favorite moment this season while playing with the Saguaros?
A: We had a lot of great experiences with the Saguaros but it would easily be winning the Championship. Any time your hard work turns into winning a Championship, it makes everything worth it and it’s all we play for. It makes it even better because the AFL is the best players from every organization so you really feel like you have accomplished something.
Q: Staying on the same topic, what is it like playing for a team like the Saguaros where you have a mixture of players from all over the league?
A: It is very strange at first seeing other teams on the front of your teammates jerseys, but the truth is we have all come across each other during the seasons and baseball has such a strong brotherhood that it takes no time at all to become comfortable with everyone.
Q: This season, you also played in Frisco and played very well there, top 10 in batting average and home runs. And also, you were in the Texas League All-star game, in which you smashed another home run. What was the it like playing closer to Arlington, versus a place like Myrtle Beach?
A: They definitely have different feels because in Myrtle or Hickory you feel so far away from Texas and from the big leagues. Playing in Texas was huge because you felt like you could be one phone call away, plus when the guys rehab from an injury they play with us and it really makes you feel like you are getting closer and closer as a player.
Q: Over your career, you’ve played at mostly catcher, but also at first base. Which position do you prefer and why?
A: I prefer catching because I want to be apart of every play and every pitch and as a catcher you really are. Catchers are like quarterbacks thinking a few plays ahead or a few pitches ahead and I love being the guy who is doing that.
Q: So far in the minors, you’ve either lead or been in the top list of players for home runs in a season, how far do you think your longest home run is?
A: Oh I’m not sure I could even guess. I don’t consider myself a homerun hitter but instead a guy who hits a lot of doubles. I just try and put as much back spin on the ball As possible and sometimes you get lucky enough that it gets over the fence.
Q: You’ve had a lot of accomplishments as a baseball player, I expect you’ll have many more. So far what has been your favorite accomplishment.
A: The Fall Stars Game MVP was pretty incredible because I had a ton of family and friends at the game and that game was filled with who’s who of prospects, so I really proved I belonged with those players.
Q: I’m sure all baseball players have their favorite baseball movie, which one is yours and why?
A: Bull Durham easily. The movie is just hilarious and the mound scene where they are talking about the wedding gifts and needing to sacrifice a chicken to get the curse off gets me everytime.
Q: You’ve had a successful career so far, you tend to lead in several categories, who do you credit for leading you on this path towards a career in baseball?
A: Really I couldn’t have been successful without coming across each and every coach I’ve had. Baseball is such a long grind and mental game that every coach as influenced me in one way or another that I can easily say I would not be the player or man I am today without everyone’s help along the way.
Q: You were drafted in the 6th round by the Texas Ranges in June of 2010 from the University of Missouri Columbia. What was it like on draft day for you? How did it all happen that day?
A: The day was actually quite stressful, just the not knowing and wanting it do bad was hard to sit around and wait. You sit around and look at a computer screen and hope you hear your name but it feels like it takes forever. My 13 year old travel ball coach was the first person who text me and I didn’t know at the time because I had walked away.
Q: And lastly, something fun to ask, what has been your favorite clubhouse prank that you can share?
A: I am a big fan of switching out bats or shoes that were sent to a player. I know for me I get so excited when I get new stuff so when I open it and it’s someone’s old sneakers in the box or a bunch of broken bats it’s a huge let down. The new stuff is always around the corner but for those few minutes you are so let down and it’s quite comical.