Editor’s note: The Chicago Cubs selected RHP Nazier Mule with the 113th overall pick in the 4th round of the 2022 MLB Draft on July 18.
PATERSON, N.J. (BVM) – Nazier Mule isn’t the typical batter most pitchers want to see stepping to the plate in a high school game.
“He’s extremely dangerous,” Passaic County Tech head baseball coach Robert Nutile said. “People don’t want to throw to him. If I was coaching against him, I wouldn’t throw to him.”
An elite athlete, Mule can put on a prodigious display of power from the batter’s box. But it’s not the power Mule has shown with his bat that has major league scouts most excited.
The 6-foot-3, 210-pound pitcher can already reach 100 mph with his fastball and consistently throws it in the mid-90s while also mixing in a solid slider and changeup, which is why scouts see him as a pitcher in the big leagues – a future that seems inevitable for the gifted righthander.
“He’s got a God-given arm,” Nutile said. “He’s blessed. As long as he keeps throwing for strikes and he’s hitting spots, he’ll definitely be impressive. … The sky’s the limit for him.”
New Jersey’s No. 1 ranked player in the Class of 2022, Mule committed to the University of Miami as a two-way player early in 2021. The talented shortstop could have the opportunity to put his power on display both as a hitter and as a pitcher for the Hurricanes, but he may never end up playing in Coral Gables. MLB.com ranks Mule No. 93 among the top 200 prospects for the 2022 MLB Draft which begins July 17 and ends July 19. Since he’s likely to be drafted somewhere within the first three or four rounds, Mule will have to decide whether to sign with an MLB team this summer or go to Miami and wait until after his junior season when he’ll be eligible for the draft again.
“That’s a decision I’ll have to make when the time comes,” Mule said. “I’m not sure where I’m going to be in a few months, but I know wherever I am I’m going to have a great family with me and the best people in my corner to help me continue to help me toward where I want to be in the future.”
After playing the entire game at SS, Nazier Mule pitches the bottom of the 9th.
— Ian Smith (@FlaSmitty) July 10, 2021
Mule has been on a path to the pros since he was a young child. It began in his backyard, hitting off a tee when he was only 3 years old and progressed quickly from there. By the age of 5, he was already playing up in travel baseball against older kids who had an edge on Mule in terms of age but not talent nor potential. By the time he was 13, Mule was already hitting 90 mph on the radar gun. And by 16, he was hitting 100.
“When I was younger I always kind of stood out amongst other competition,” Mule said. “So it was just something that I continued to do and I kept working to perfect my craft [because] it was something that I loved to do.”
Mule will soon take his love for baseball to the next level – either in the ACC with the Hurricanes or in the minor league system of an MLB organization. If he goes to college, he may have the chance to continue hitting and fielding, which he said has been his “go-to” since he began playing the sport.
“Pitching was just kind of there because I was good at it,” Mule said. “I never really worked with a pitching coach or anything to that effect before this past winter. Hitting and fielding have been the main things I’ve been focusing on my whole life so I’m looking to do both for as long as I can. I’m committed to the University of Miami as a two-way so I’m going to try to do both until someone makes a decision for me and has me pick one.”
There’s no denying how impressive Mule can be as a hitter. In the interest of saving his arm, he was advised not to pitch much during his final year of high school baseball, so he spent most of his senior season in the designated hitter role for the Passaic Tech Bulldogs. And not only did Mule lead the team with a .427 batting average, but 20 of his 44 hits went for extra bases, including eight home runs.
As good as Mule has proven he can be with the bat, however, Nutile still agrees with most scouts’ assessment that it’s Mule’s pitching that will take him far in the future.
“When he’s on it’s scary,” Nutile said. “It’s very intimidating to hit against that kid.”
And the Bulldogs coach, for one, doesn’t believe Mule’s next pitches will be thrown in college.
“I’d be shocked if he did only because of the arm and what he can do and how hard he throws,” Nutile said. “I’d be shocked because what he’s got is a gift and I don’t know if college would even help. I think it’s more about him being with people who can [raise] him up.”
Whether he turns pro or takes his power arm and bat to Miami later this summer, it may be only a matter of time before Mule makes it to the majors.
“It’s a very exciting time,” Mule said. “Professional baseball has always been my dream. If I choose not to play professional baseball right now and then I have the University of Miami to look forward to for the next three years and I couldn’t ask for anything better. It’s really a win-win situation for me.”