Nicely sustained a stress reaction in his back last spring and didn't play all of last summer. He returned to the mound in time for late-fall showcases and has been healthy this year.
"We're not really concerned about the injury," said Astros director of amateur scouting Mike Elias. "He's an athletic kid, and we saw him healthy at our player tryouts a few weeks ago. He impressed."
Nicely's fastball generally sits in the upper 80s, occasionally touching 91 mph. The left-hander also throws a changeup and curveball, both of which need work. Nicely has good athleticism and helped Spotswood High School to a runner-up finish in Virginia's Division III state basketball tournament.
"The scouts in that region, they loved the kid," Elias said. "They couldn't stop talking about him, and it's always good to get a high-upside lefty in the 10th round."
In time, Nicely could add velocity as he gets stronger; he could eventually have three solid offerings. He is committed to Virginia.
Chris Abshire is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.