Hosea Nelson – Outfielder
Born: 11/22/1996 – Height: 6’0” – Weight: 210 – Bats: Left – Throws: Left
Facts & Info: Nelson was selected by the Indians in the 9th round of the 2016 Draft out of Clarendon Junior College (TX), and signed for $125,000. He had a scholarship out of high school to play at Oakland University (MI), but changed his commitment after graduation to Wabash Valley College in Illinois. During the course of the summer at Wabash someone saw him and invited him down to Texas and he moved to Clarendon Junior College where he flourished and took off and was named the 2016 Western Junior College Athletic Conference MVP. He had a commitment to go to the University of North Florida had he not signed with the Indians.
Offense: Nelson is a toolsy outfielder who combines an interesting mix of speed and power. He brings a great deal of intrigue with the bat because of how raw and inexperienced he is facing higher level competition. The hitting tool is below average and the approach is very raw and needs work, but what really drew the Indians to him were his tools and the raw power he has in his bat. He is very strong and has some above average power and can really impact the baseball when he is on time and finds the barrel.
Defense: Like with his offense, Nelson is a work in progress defensively. While he can handle all three outfield positions and will probably bounce around between all three at the short season level, he doesn’t have the range and arm to project as an everyday center fielder or right fielder. As a result, he is limited to a left field projection because of a fringy arm and low defensive profile.
Speed & Intangibles: Nelson is a physical specimen as he packs a lot of strength into his average sized frame and has some good muscle tone. He is also very athletic and is a plus runner who has the potential to impact on the bases and on the field as he grows as a hitter and defender.
Focus: As a player who profiles mostly as a left field only kind of outfielder, Nelson is going to need to hit a lot to move up the system and the swing needs a lot of work. The biggest question surrounding him is whether he will ever hit enough as his hit tool is very limited right now because of poor plate discipline and pitch recognition skills. He struck out at a 39.8% clip in his pro debut last season covering 30 games (113 plate appearances) though he also walked at a nice 9.7% clip, which shows there is the makings of a good approach if he can get a handle on his discipline. The Indians are going to spend a lot of time this season on developing his routines, preparing for each at bat, identifying offspeed and staying in the zone with his swing.
Future: The Indians were really intrigued by Nelson’s offensive showing in college last year, so they took a gamble on him as a late round bonus pool pick. He’s a projection bat and will need a lot of development, but the Indians believe that if he can hit enough to get to his power – something he showed glimpses of with a .141 isolated power in his pro debut – that he could be a pretty good player. The Indians will be very patient with his development and this season is all about building a good foundation for him, so he should spend the entire year in Arizona for extended spring training and then repeat in the rookie level Arizona Summer League and then see where he goes from there.