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Nelson keeps focus on College World Series

June 8, 2010

MILWAUKEE — Aside from waking up to calls from a handful of Major League ballclubs, Tuesday was a relatively normal day for Jimmy Nelson.

The junior right-hander from the University of Alabama began his day with some typical medical treatment, followed by weight lifting with his Crimson Tide teammates.

Even when he was selected by the Milwaukee Brewers in the second round with the 64th pick of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, Nelson’s day didn’t change too much.

“I got a lot of calls and text from people who wanted to congratulate me, but it was really a pretty normal day,” Nelson said. “But it feels great to be drafted. It’s almost unbelieveable really. It’s an honor to be picked by such a great organization.”

Nelson’s day remained as normal as possible by design. That’s because the junior is keeping his focus on his team’s upcoming super regional series at Clemson, which is scheduled to begin on Saturday.

As the team’s hottest pitcher, Nelson still expects to pitch this weekend after being drafted.

“I absolutely want to pitch against Clemson,” Nelson said. “I want to do whatever I can to help this team get to, and hopefully win, the College World Series. I think that’s everyone’s goal on this team. But we’re still just going to take it one game at a time.”

Nelson, at 6-foot-6 and 235 pounds, certainly fits the Brewers’ criteria of a physical, hard-throwing guy.

When they saw him pitch this year, the Brewers were very impressed.

“He’s a big, hard-throwing guy,” said Bruce Seid, director of scouting for the Brewers. “I saw him pitch twice this year. He shut [Arkansas] down for five innings. At that time I said ‘Wow, this guy’s pretty good.’

“Then we saw him at the SEC [tournament] against Auburn and he just shut them out. He went nine innings, was throwing in the 90s in the ninth. He pitched with confidence, threw strikes. He’s a big kid, arm works, good delivery. So we thought this was a great choice.”

The Florida native throws a fastball that can reach 94 mph and has a nice slider — a tilted, hard, late-breaking pitch — to go along with it. Nelson also has an average changeup, which has been suggested to need some work in order for him to be a starter in the big leagues.

Whether he develops the changeup or not, Nelson sees himself with the potential to be a valuable starter at the next level.

“I think I can bring a lot of consistency and be a reliable starter in the big leagues,” Nelson said. “I can throw a lot of innings and I think I can compete with anybody at any level. That’s what I love to do. I love to compete on the baseball diamond.”

Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com.

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