Born in Vancouver, while his dad played for the Vancouver Whitecaps of the NASL. His dad, Mark, is from England, and his mom is American. He grew up in California. He graduated from Westlake High School in Westlake Village, California.
He was drafted by the Rangers in the 5th round of the 2004 draft. He played for the USA youth team, jr. national team and the USA National team. Only the 2nd player in USA baseball history to play on 3 teams. He started his pro career with the Spokane Indians of the Northwest League. He batted .288 with 10 HRs and 55 RBIs for Spokane. In 2005, he played for the Rangers' AA affiliate, Frisco RoughRiders. He batted for a .202 average with five home runs and 24 runs-batted-in in 68 games, but Baseball America named Nickeas the best defensive catcher in the Rangers minor league system. On August 30, 2006, he was traded to the New York Mets for outfielder Victor Diaz. In 2007 he split time between the "High A" St. Lucie Mets and Double-A Binghamton Mets and in 2008, he split time between Binghamton and the Triple-A New Orleans Zephyrs.