The New York Yankees announced on Wednesday that former reliever, Jeff Nelson will announce the team's first pick at this year's First-Year Player Draft. Nelson appeared in 331 games, in six seasons with the Yankees and won four World Series titles.
"It's good to make people aware of what kinds of athletes these guys are, especially if you look in the Minor Leagues and see how the fans are — when they see a great player, they tend to follow that player throughout the Minors," Nelson said. Live coverage of the Draft will begin on the MLB Network on June 5, at 6 pm.
Nelson feels that TV coverage of the Draft is a big advantage for the young players. "They're trying to get people to be aware of these guys coming out of high school and top colleges, and putting it on TV," Nelson said. Maybe they'll get recognized a little earlier by the fan bases of the organizations that they get drafted by, and follow them."
Nelson said that the Draft has changed a lot since 1984, when he selected in the 22nd round by the LA Dodgers. "I didn't know anything about the Draft; I got scouted in high school by the Mets and the Cardinals, Nelson said. "I got a telegram from the Dodgers that said I was selected in the 22nd round. I had no idea what that was, but I was like, 'Oh, this is awesome'."
Nelson bypassed college and signed with the Dodgers for a $7,500 bonus. "I was 6-foot-2, 175 pounds when I got drafted out of high school. I didn't even wear spikes, Nelson said. "I had to borrow somebody's spikes, and luckily there was a guy who was the same size that I was."
Nelson will announce the Yankees first pick in the draft, because of Draft Pick Compensation, the Yanks own the 55th overall selection. "They'll give me a little script and make sure I can pronounce the name right," Nelson said.
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