MLB Draft Profile: Matheu Nelson

MLB Draft Profile: Matheu Nelson

by June 28, 2021 2 comments

The Florida State Seminoles starting catcher has put himself firmly in the top 100 in this year’s MLB Draft with an excellent year at the plate. Always known for his arm, Matheu Nelson finally broke out with the bat in his third season for FSU after struggling in 2019 and 2020. Let’s take a look at what the Florida native brings to the draft.

Make sure to check out all of our other MLB Draft Profiles.

Matheu Nelson, C, Florida State

Height: 5’11”
Weight: 190 lbs.
Age: 22
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
2019: 57 G – .282/.442/.442, 6 HR, 4 SB
2020: 17 G – .250/.410/.383, 1 HR, 2 SB
2021: 53 G – .330/.436/.773, 23 HR, 4 SB

Scouting Grades

Hit: 45
Power: 55
Run: 40
Arm: 60
Field: 50
Overall: 50

As you can see from the stats above, Nelson really broke out this season. He has always had a solid eye at the plate and a willingness to take a walk, but this year the power came through and has pushed him up draft boards into the top three rounds especially with being recently awarded the 2021 Perfect Game National Player of the Year.

Strengths

The power is obvious and seems sustainable as Nelson has gotten a lot stronger over the past year due to a workout commitment he made when COVID shut down last season. He has a compact swing and can use all fields which should help him even when he gets fooled. The FSU backstop already has excellent on-base skills and his pitch recognition should remain above average.

Nelson has a great arm which grades at a 60 now but could become elite with more refinement of his footwork and pop times which are already solid. The intangibles are hard to quantify but Nelson is praised for his work ethic, leadership, and the way he goes about his business. In an interview in the Tallahassee Democrat with Curt Weiler, FSU head coach Mike Martin Jr. said of Nelson,

“He’s brought an awful lot to the program from a talent standpoint, but just the way he goes about his business, the way he treats people, you can’t tell if he’s 0-for-4 or 4-for-4. Especially in this day and age, that’s hard to find.”

Weaknesses

Nelson has some swing and miss in his profile with a career 24 percent strikeout rate at Florida State. While it isn’t horrible, he will need to at least keep it where it is as he moves up to be able to consistently tap into his power in-game. He runs like a catcher so although he swiped a few bags in college, don’t expect many at the upper levels in pro ball. He will be smart on the bases though and certainly won’t run into outs.

Pro Comparison: Carson Kelly

The Diamondbacks catcher has put up some solid numbers in Arizona over the past three years slashing .244/.342/.454 with 31 HRs in 200 games. He is still only 26 years old and has really found his groove this year. I could see a similar slash from Nelson with better defense. The power will be there as will the OBP and if he can keep the swing and miss at a decent level as he moves up, the FSU catcher will be in the majors soon.

Draft Projection: Round 2, Pick 57, Chicago White Sox

The Sox took Zack Collins with the 10th overall pick back in 2016 out of Miami. He hasn’t shown the ability to hit major league pitching and he may wind up as a career backup. With Nelson, Chicago gets who they hope will be a better player as the heir apparent to Yasmani Grandal who is a free agent after the 2023 season.

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Main Image Credit: https://www.tomahawknation.com/florida-state-seminoles-baseball-fsu-noles/2021/4/26/22403805/matheu-nelson-acc-player-the-week-news-seminoles-catcher-mlb-draft-mike-martin-metcalf-georgia-tech

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