Nick did not play affiliated ball until he was 25, when he signed in August 2015…he pitched parts of three years (2012-13, 2015) in independent ball (Rockford RiverHawks, Rockford Aviators, Frontier Greys) and played for the Tri-City (Minn.) Hawks, a men’s baseball league in 2014...During his time in independent ball, Nick helped a friend remodel homes full-time…his work included laying carpet, renovating bathrooms and installing roofing...Nick broke his nose in elementary school after he was tripped by a classmate while running and collided with a brick wall...He didn’t play organized football from 9th–11th grade, but suited up as a senior at outside linebacker and kicker…his preferred kicking style was straight-toed and he wore square-toe cleats...As a kid, Nick competed at BMX and keeps the trophies at his dad’s house…his love of extreme sports also includes snowmobiling.
Diagnosed with a partial UCL tear as well as flexor tendinitis at the end of Spring Training and was placed on the 60-day IL on March 26...Reinstated from the 60-day IL on Sept. 12 and made his season debut the next night…made six apps in September before going on the 10-day IL on Sept. 27 (low back tightness)...Combined for 13 rehab apps (1 start) between the Rookie-level FCL Rays and Triple-A Durham, going 0-0 with a 4.26 ERA (12.2-IP, 6-ER) and 16 SO…began rehabbing July 23 and made two apps before an interruption by a medical issue unrelated to his elbow…joined Durham on Aug. 12 and made 11 apps with them...Struck out one of 24 BF in his six apps spanning 6 IP, compared to 26 SO in 16.1 IP in 2020...Allowed a run in three straight apps to end the season after his first three apps were scoreless...Underwent right elbow surgery Oct. 27, performed by Dr. Keith Meister in Dallas…during the surgery, Meister repaired the UCL with an internal brace procedure…his expected return to game action is after the 2022 All-Star break.
Made 19 apps in his first full season with the Rays…missed 13 games from Aug 20–Sep 3 while on the injured list (right forearm inflammation)...Finished with a 0.55 ERA (16.1-IP, 1-ER) and .091 opp avg. (5-for-55), including a .034 opp avg. (1-for-29) against right-handed batters…struck out 26 of his 58 BF (44.8 pct.)...Named first-team All-MLB, joining OAK Liam Hendriks as the two relievers selected…the teams were selected with voting split between fans and an MLB-appointed panel of experts, including media, former players and executives. Led the Rays bullpen with 6 saves, converting each of his chances…limited opponents to a .061 avg. (2-for-33) in save opportunities...Among pitchers with as many innings (16.1), his 0.55 ERA ranked 6th in the majors while his .091 opp avg. ranked 3rd behind KC Jesse Hahn (.071) and MIL Devin Williams (.090)...Eighteen of his 19 apps were scoreless, and he did not allow a hit in 14 of his 19 apps…entered with the Rays tied or ahead in all 19 apps...His first 14 apps were scoreless, tied with Scott Aldred in 1999 for the longest streak of scoreless apps to start a season in franchise history (excluding in-season acquisitions)...Made his second straight Opening Day roster...On Aug. 4 vs. BOS, recorded his first save since the trade to the Rays…inherited the bases loaded with 1 out and tying run at the plate in the 9th inning and struck out both batters faced...On Sept. 4 vs. MIA, was reinstated from the 10-day IL and recorded the save against his former team…went walk, E6 to start the 9th inning but got a fielder’s choice, pop out and strikeout...On Sept. 15 vs. WAS, inherited the bases loaded with 1 out in the 9th inning and the potential tying run on deck and struck out both batters faced for the save…extended his scoreless streak to 14 straight apps to start the season...On Sept. 16 vs. WAS, suffered his first loss since July 13, 2019 vs. NYM (with MIA), allowing a 2-run homer to Luis García on the first pitch of the 10th inning…was his first run allowed since Game 2 of the 2019 ALDS at HOU.
POSTSEASON: Went 1-2 with a 5.52 ERA (14.2- IP, 9-ER) in 10 apps…recorded 4 outs (or more) in seven of his 10 apps…faced 61 batters in the postseason, compared to 58 BF in the regular season...Yielded run(s) in seven consecutive apps, starting with Game 5 of the ALDS vs. NYY through the end of the postseason…marked the longest such streak for a reliever in postseason history...Pitched in the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th innings…became the fifth pitcher to do that in a single postseason, joining HOU Brad Peacock in 2017, NYY Ken Clay in 1978, CIN Don Gullett in 1970 and NYM Nolan Ryan in 1969...In Game 5 at HOU, retired his first 4 BF before allowing a walk-off homer to Carlos Correa in the 9th inning…it was the third time the Rays lost a postseason game in walk-off fashion and first time on a walk-off homer.
Spent the entire season in the majors, split between the Marlins and Rays organizations… acquired by the Rays in a four-player deal just minutes before the July 31 trade deadline...His 110 SO (in 65 IP) tied BOS Matt Barnes for 3rd-most in the majors as a reliever, trailing MIL Josh Hader (138) and OAK Liam Hendriks (122)… his 110 SO in relief was 8th all-time by a rookie- among those above him on the list are ATL Craig Kimbrel (127) in 2011, ATL Steve Bedrosian (114) in 1982 and LAD Pedro Martínez (113) in 1993...His 15.23 SO/9 IP ratio was the 3rd-highest mark in major league history by a qualifying rookie reliever, behind LAD Kenley Jansen (16.10) in 2011 and SEA Edwin Díaz (15.33) in 2016...Between the Marlins and Rays, struck out 41.7 pct. of batters faced, 2nd-best in the majors (min. 50 IP) behind MIL Josh Hader (47.8)...Made the Marlins roster out of spring training and made his major league debut on Opening Day vs. COL, retiring his only batter…earned his first win on May 21 at DET, working a scoreless 10th and 11th innings in a 5-4 victory, with 5 SO…earned his first save on June 23 at PHI...Beginning on Aug 1-the date of his Rays debut- through the end of the season, he led the majors (min. 20 IP) with a 17.30 SO/9 IP ratio...Made 23 apps after the trade to the Rays, recording 41 SO and only 2 BB (1 IBB)…recorded 34 SO before allowing his first walk, the 2nd-longest streak of strikeouts without a walk in franchise history behind Chris Archer (43) from May 27- June 13, 2015…since Stats LLC play-by-play data is available (1974), his streak was the longest to begin a career with a team, passing Billy Wagner (30) with the 2004 Phillies...Began his Rays career with 10 consecutive scoreless apps but pitched to a 3.86 ERA (11.2-IP, 5-ER) in his last 13 apps…went 4-2 with a 2.25 ERA (44-IP, 11-ER) and 71 SO (14.52 SO/9 IP) in 47 apps from May 27 through season's end...Recorded at least 1 SO in 21 of his 23 apps with the Rays, including multiple strikeouts in 14 of 23 apps and 3 SO (or more) in five of 23 apps...After allowing a double to his first batter faced as a Ray, retired 22 straight, including 17 SO… was the first reliever to start his Rays career with seven consecutive apps of multiple strikeouts...Starting with his second out on Aug 6 vs. TOR through his third out on Aug 17 vs. DET, struck out 13 of 14 BF including nine consecutive batters at one point, one shy of the major league record set by NYM Tom Seaver in 1970...Named to Baseball America's All-Rookie Team, the only reliever selected…became the first Rays pitcher selected since Jeremy Hellickson in 2011 and the first Rays reliever to make it...Named the 2019 Dick Siebert Award winner by the Minnesota Chapter of the BBWAA…the award is named for the former University of Minnesota coach and presented annually to the Upper Midwest Player of the Year…it was awarded previously to Jeremy Hellickson, an Iowa native.
Spent season with Triple-A Rochester in International League and earned first career All-Star selection...Went 5-2 with 3.38 ERA (40.0 IP/15 ER) in 26 relief appearance prior to All-Star break, striking out 57 batters and holding opponents to .214 average. Also had four saves in six chances...Was 3-0 with 3.15 ERA (20.0/7) in 13 appearances (four starts) after All-Star break...His four starts totaled just 4.0 innings, with 9.00 ERA (4 er)...Longest start was 1.2 innings on August 3 at Pawtucket...Was 3-0 with 1.69 ERA (16.0/3) in his nine relief appearances in second half...18 of 25 relief appearances lasted at least 2.0 innings, with a high of 3.0 in a relief victory on May 29 at Durham...Picked up relief win in each of final two appearances of the season, on Aug. 28 vs. Buffalo and September 2 vs. Lehigh Valley; tied season high with four strikeouts (fifth time) vs. Buffalo and set new season high with five in finale vs. Lehigh Valley.