Matheu Nelson becomes Florida State baseball’s highest catcher drafted since Buster Posey

Andre C. Fernandez
Tallahassee Democrat

Florida State’s Matheu Nelson surged up the draft prospect charts after a breakout hitting season which earned him ACC Player of the Year honors.

Late Sunday night, Nelson exceeded evaluators’ expectations again when he was selected 35th overall in the MLB Draft by the Cincinnati Reds.

Nelson, who was ranked No. 40 overall by MLB Pipeline and No. 50 overall by Baseball America, became the earliest FSU catcher selected since Buster Posey was chosen by the San Francisco Giants fifth overall in 2008.

Nelson is FSU’s highest pick overall since DJ Stewart went 25th overall to the Baltimore Orioles in 2015. A Johnny Bench and Buster Posey Award winner for best catcher in the country, Nelson Nelson is the ninth Seminole drafted by the Reds and the first since John Sansone in 2016.

The slot where Nelson was picked is valued at approximately $2.10 million.

Nelson was picked with the second-to-last selection of the first day of the three-day draft in Competitive Balance Round A.

Nelson is the third FSU catcher all-time joining Posey and Terry Kennedy, the sixth overall pick in 1977, to be drafted higher than the second round.

FSU catcher Matheu Nelson was selected 35th overall by the Cincinnati Reds late Sunday night, making him the highest catcher to be selected since Buster Posey in 2008.

Nelson hit only seven home runs in his first 74 games combined his first two seasons at FSU.

The power surge plus his combination of a plus arm and solid defensive tools increased his draft stock and made him a Golden Spikes semifinalist.

“The power numbers speak for themselves,” Baseball America national writer Carlos Collazo told the Tallahassee Democrat earlier this week. “When you combine that with his defensive skills, I mean we talked to scouts who think he can be a plus defender and that’s what separates him from a lot of the college catchers in this class.”

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Nelson (5-11, 209 pounds) was the fourth catcher chosen on the first day after Louisville catcher Henry Davis was taken first overall by the Pittsburgh Pirates and high school catchers Harry Ford (Kennesaw, Ga.) and Joe Mack (East Amherst, N.Y.) were selected 12th and 31st overall.

Nelson is one of three FSU players ranked among Baseball America’s top 500 draft prospects along with sophomores Robby Martin and Elijah Cabell.

The draft continues Monday with rounds 2-10 and Tuesday with rounds 11-20.

Reach Andre Fernandez at afernandez@tallahassee.com or follow him on Twitter @FernandezAndreC.

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