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MLB Draft 2021: Cleveland selects LHP Doug Nakhazy with No. 58 pick

Another strikeout machine is heading to Cleveland

Cleveland has selected left-handed pitcher Doug Nakhazy out of Ole Miss with pick No. 58 in the second round of the 2021 MLB Draft. Standing 6-foot-0 as a college junior, was a strikeout machine as the Friday night starter for the Rebs.

Here’s what MLB Pipeline had to say about him:

A relatively unheralded Florida high school recruit, Nikhazy set Mississippi’s freshman strikeout record (86 in 89 2/3 innings, surpassing future big leaguers Jeff Calhoun and Drew Pomeranz) and made the U.S. collegiate national team in 2019. He served as the Rebels’ No. 1 starter in 2020 and opened this year in that role before a pectoral strain sidelined him for two weeks. He was better than ever upon returning and set school records for wins (12, third in NCAA Division I) and single-game strikeouts (16 in a regional win over Florida State) while finishing fifth in D-I in whiffs (142 in 92 innings).

Nikhazy’s pitchability stands out more than his stuff, which is highlighted by a pair of solid breaking balls, a mid-70s curveball with 12-6 break and a short mid-80s slider/cutter. He sets them up with an 88-92 mph fastball that peaks at 94 but plays up because his high three-quarters arm slot and extension create deceptive angle and run. He also has a 78-82 mph changeup with tumble and fade.

Nikhazy lacks projection in his stocky 6-foot frame, but his spin rates and fastball metrics will be attractive to teams that emphasize analytics. Scouts love his competitiveness, his ability to change the shapes and speeds of his pitches and his track record of success. He’ll need to refine his average control at the next level because he doesn’t have much margin for error, but he comes with a high floor as a good bet to become a back-of-the-rotation starter or a lefty reliever.

MLB Pipeline had Williams listed as the No. 56 prospect in the 2021 MLB Draft, so he’s sitting almost exactly on the projections. on the draft live stream, prospect guru Jim Callis said he thought Nikhazy could be a quick mover in Cleveland’s minor league system.