"He's a guy with a good fastball that he moves in and out," Lansing Manager Mike Redmond said. "He's got a good changeup and he's been working on his secondary pitches, the curveball and the slider. Like with many of our pitchers the biggest thing for him is command and to come out throwing strikes. His changeup is still probably his best secondary pitch right now. He's got a great pick-off move too.
"He's got a good fastball and changeup, but like with many of our pitchers it comes down to consistency for him. Being able to command the zone and throw secondary pitches for strikes is something that's important for all of our guys and that's what we work on here to get them to be able to do it at the higher levels."
"I've been just trying to get my innings in and help the team win of course," Nolin said. "I try to go about six innings and try to throw outs really, there's nothing more."
Nolin knows how important his control is for him and he works on it in every bullpen and every start.
"I've been trying to stay in control on the mound and not fall off to my glove side like I do sometimes," he said, "trying to grow out of that and stay more towards the play with my delivery and throw the ball where I want to.
"I've been trying plenty to throw the ball at the corners or at the knees and just trying to be a little too perfect sometimes. I guess just staying mentally focused really helps me with that. Just not being confused about anything else, focusing and hitting a spot."
Nolin also notes that his pick-off move has been something that helps him stay in control of the game.
"So far this season I've been really good at it," he said. "I just try to keep my move to look like I'm throwing home. I know it's 45-degrees, so I just try to keep my move around there.
"I know the rule and I've been practicing my move since I was about 15, so it's just going through the motions and staying the same. I haven't gotten called on it too much yet, so I just try to keep it that way."
This deep into the season and with 16 starts under his belt, Nolin says his arm is feeling fine.
"Everything feels good, I've been doing my workouts trying to stay strong," he said. "Hopefully I'll be able to finish the season strong as well."
Pitching coach Vince Horsman spoke at length about how important control is for Nolin.
"With Sean, it's all about command," Horsman said frankly. "If he's commanding his fastball and getting good tilt to it, he's probably going to have a pretty good game. He's got some decent secondary pitches, but everything really plays off of his command and the command of his fastball.
"Pretty easy read as the game goes along. He does have a good pick-off move and even as the league becomes more aware of it he's done a good job of keeping the running game in check. There's not a lot of stolen bases against him and he usually gives his catcher's a chance and that's good. He'll show a good slider at times, he'll show a good breaking ball at times.
"His changeup is pretty decent, at times it's an average major league pitch. Again, everything comes on command. We can beat the dead horse here because if he isn't commanding the zone then his pitch count gets elevated and he won't get to hang around a long time. If he's commanding the ball, he can go six or seven innings."
Horsman noted that control is paramount for every pitcher at this level.
"It's the same with all of our guys here," he said. "If they could command two pitches really well, they wouldn't be pitching at this level. The levels are obviously indicative of what guys are working on and here that's commanding your arsenal, which is something I've preached since the season started.
"I keep telling them to work the fastball and all of their pitches down in the zone because they need to have that piece of the puzzle if they're going to have success at the higher levels and continue to polish up the rest of their game."
Toronto Blue Jays General Manager Alex Anthopolous was in attendance for Nolin's last start against South Bend and had some praise for the young left-hander's work ethic.
"Good delivery and good fastball," Anthopolous said. "He has a slider and a cutter was the other pitch he threw. There's definitely something to work with there. He's really committed himself to his body, he's lost a ton of weight since last year and really improved the shape that he's in. We hope he's a guy who'll continue to make strides for us."
Sean Nolin isn't going to overpower hitters. He's a crafty lefty with some decent breaking pitches and a pick-off move that keeps runners in check. Like many pitchers in A-ball, he's working on commanding all of his pitches.
Nolin In Control
Sean Nolin has had a solid first full minor league season this year and his command is a reason why.