Jaret Nelson was leaving U.S. Baseball Park after a recent Show-Me Collegiate League game with Victus when Nixa assistant coach Landon Kelly sent him a text.
“it said, ‘Congrats on All-American,’” Nelson said. “I texted him back and said, ‘What?’”
Nelson learned he had been chosen to Collegiate Baseball’s High School All-American Team as a Second-Team catcher.
“It took a minute to set in. It's a blessing,” Nelson said of his reaction to the news. “i’m honored to be among the list of those players. There's a lot of really good dudes on that list.”
Nelson’s name appeared along with the likes of shortstop Jackson Holliday, of Stillwater, Oklahoma, and outfielder Druw Jones, of Wesleyan, Georgia.
Holliday, the son of former Cardinals great Matt Holliday, and Jones, the son of former Braves great Andruw Jones, are contenders to be the No. 1 pick in the MLB First-Year Player Draft July 17-19.
Nelson would be even more surprised than his All-American selection if were to hear his name called with those players during the MLB Draft.
“I would say I'm going to skip out on it this year,” he said when asked about the Draft.
Nelson has been given no indication to believe he will be among the more than 600 players to be chosen during the Draft’s 20 rounds.
“I have had nothing,” he said of contact with MLB scouts. “As of now, I'm going to Fort Scott (Kansas).”
Nelson opted to go the juco route and sign with Fort Scott during his senior year. He followed up by hitting .400-plus for a second straight season for Nixa.
It rates as a surprise to many in southwest Missouri that Nelson has receive no MLB correspondence. He fits the prototype of a pro prospect, given his 6-foot-4, 200-pound frame. Also, his athleticism, strength, speed and explosiveness were proven exceptional against COC competition.
Perfect Game lists Nelson’s 10-yard split at 1.61 seconds, his 60-yard dash at 6.73, his throwing velocity at 78 mph, his pop-up time behind the plate at 1.95 and the exit velocity off his bat at 90 mph.
Those results were graded in 2021.
Nelson also scores high in the opinions of Nixa coaches Logan Hughes and Jay Osborne in regard to intangibles.
A year ago, former Show-Me League player Mason Auer was taken in the fifth round of the draft by the Tampa Bay Rays. Two years ago, former Show-Me player Connor Sechler signed as a free agent with the Texas Rangers.
Nelson, who is 18 years old, isn’t deterred that MLB scouts have apparently not taken note of him, yet. He’ll remain as motivated as ever to chase down his dream of playing pro ball.
“Hopefully, sometime in the future. That's the goal,” he said. “It’s something I've wanted forever.”
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