Fan who signed with Oakland A’s strikes out side in debut

Baseball fan Nathan Patterson didn’t disappoint in his minor league pitching debut. He struck out all three batters he faced in his first Arizona rookie league game.

Oakland signed the pitcher earlier this month after his brother posted a video on Twitter of him throwing 96 miles-per-hour during a speed-pitch challenge at Coors Field in July. The tweet went viral.

The 23-year-old needed 18 pitches to get the three batters out. Not bad for someone who couldn’t even make the high school varsity baseball team in Kansas.

Afterward, he posted his appreciation of the moment on his Instagram account. “I’m not gonna lie, the nerves were flowing until I threw strike one,” he wrote. “After that, I took a big deep breath and realized all the hard work over the last year has prepared me for this moment.”

Patterson’s path to the pros started in 2018. While living in Nashville, he was attending a minor league game and threw over 90 mph at the speed pitch in the stadium.

To see if the throw was a fluke, he then went to a baseball training facility in town and discovered that he could regularly pitch above 90. “So I got on a mound, hadn’t thrown off a mound in years, was sitting 90, 92,” he told the media in a conference call. “I was, ‘All right, this is real. This is actually what’s happening.’ So I told myself, ‘I’m going to go back and play baseball.'”

He signed with an agent and received training from former Oakland pitcher Jarrod Parker.

After his Coors Field speed pitch display went viral, he started receiving interest from major league clubs. The A’s, who had been in discussions with him, was first to offer him a minor-league contract.

EARLIER: A’s sign fan who hit 96 mph during a speed pitch challenge

“It’s a roll of the dice, which it is with a lot of the guys that we draft,” explained A’s director of scouting Eric Kubota.

As his pro debut shows, Patterson’s story, as his pitching, still has some life to it.

This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/athletics/article/Nathan-Patterson-Oakland-A-s-pitch-debut-14358982.php.

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