Chris Nelson

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Christopher Lars Nelson

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Biographical Information[edit]

Chris Nelson made his major league debut with the Colorado Rockies in 2010.

Nelson hit .552 as a high school senior, scoring 54 runs and driving in 44 in 87 AB while stealing 29 bases and slugging 1.000. Baseball America and USA Today both named him as a first-team high school All-American infielder in 2004. The Colorado Rockies took him with the 9th pick of the 2004 amateur draft. He was the second position player taken, following Matt Bush, and was signed by scout Damon Iannelli for a $2,150,000 bonus. He had been rated the #4 prospect in the draft by Baseball America. Assigned to the Casper Rockies, he hit .347/.432/.510 in 38 games. Baseball America ranked him as the 4th-best shortstop prospect in baseball, Colorado's #2 prospect and the #1 prospect in the Pioneer League.

Nelson struggled in his first full season of pro ball. He hit .241/.304/.330 for the Asheville Tourists and only .183 against left-handers. Baseball America still rated him the #20 prospect in the South Atlantic League and 10th in the Rockies organization.

In 2006, Chris returned to Asheville and batted .260/.313/.416 with 101 strikeouts in 466 AB. He did show some pop, with 38 doubles, and stole 14 bases in 16 tries. His 41 errors led South Atlantic League shortstops. That winter, he hit .261/.305/.375 for the Waikiki BeachBoys.

Nelson was recalled to the Colorado Rockies in early June, 2010 after regular SS Troy Tulowitzki was placed on the disabled list with a broken left wrist. He made his debut on June 19th, scoring a run as a pinch-runner against the Milwaukee Brewers.

On July 17, 2012, Nelson was admitted to a Denver hospital when he complained of "feeling funny". He was diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat and underwent shock treatment when his heart failed to find its normal rhythm on its own. Doctors stated that the procedure was successful, but he was still placed on the disabled list, as it was recommended that he limit his activities significantly for the next week. He ended up playing 111 games for Colorado, 92 of these at third base where he was the player who saw the most action on the team. He hit .301/.352/.458, numbers which look good at first glance but were only equivalent to an OPS+ of 104 in the hitter-friendly environment of Coors Field. He had 21 doubles and 9 homers and drove in 53 runs.

He was still the Rockies starter at third base when the 2013 season started, but he only hit .242 with an OBP under .300 and only 4 RBI in his first 21 games. With the Rockies having one the top prospects in their system playing at third base and ready to step up to the major leagues in Nolan Arenado, Nelson was designated for assignment on April 27th. On May 1st, the Rockies traded him to the New York Yankees, who had just put starting 3B Kevin Youkilis on the disabled list. He was one of a slew of players trying to play third for the Yankees that season, in the absence of an injured Alex Rodriguez, but he failed to impress management as he went 8 for 36 (.222) in 10 games. he was placed on waivers on May 18th and immediately claimed by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. After playing sparingly in his first couple of weeks with his new team, he was sent down to the AAA Salt Lake Bees for a spell. He hit .328 with 6 homers and 24 RBIs in 34 games to get a call back to Anaheim on July 31st. This time, he was inserted into the starting line-up at third base, and begun to hit better. On August 15th, he had a career game against the Yankees, hitting his first two homers of the season; the first was a solo shot against Phil Hughes in the 4th and added a grand slam against Boone Logan that blew the game open in the 8th. Thanks to his performance, the Angels won that game, 8-4.

Nelson became a bench coach with the Northwest Arkansas Naturals in 2018 and the hitting coach for the Idaho Falls Chukars in 2019. He was scheduled to return to the latter in 2020 before the coronavirus pandemic shut down the minor league season. Nelson was the hitting coach for the ACL Royals Gold in 2021 and the assistant hitting coach for the Columbia Fireflies in 2022.

Sources: 2007 Rockies Media Guide, 2005-2007 Baseball Almanacs,, Hawaii Winter Baseball

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