Matheu Nelson, Catcher
Matheu Nelson was recently given an invite to Major League spring training along with fellow backstop Daneil Vellojin. While Vellojin has been in the organization longer, Nelson put up much better offensive numbers last season, and began to show flashes of why he was taken so high in the 2021 MLB Draft.
Nelson hit .229/.340/.437 with a walk-rate of nearly 12-percent while splitting time between High-A Dayton and Double-A Chattanooga. Though he only played for the Lookouts during the month of September, Nelson posted a 1.037 OPS and had more walks than strikeouts.
That was the version of Nelson that made him a star during his final season at Florida State and made scouts daydream of what could be on the horizon for the former Seminole. Nelson was selected with the Reds' Competitive Balance in 2021, going 35th overall.
This is a position that Cincinnati needs to see more development from in 2024. The Reds would appear to have several catching prospects with plenty of upside (Logan Tanner, Alfredo Duno, and Cade Hunter), but no one has really grabbed the bull by the horns and asserted himself as the next young catcher to join Tyler Stephenson and Luke Maile in the big leagues.
Reds spring training will afford Nelson that opportunity. The 25-year-old possesses all the tools to have success at the major league level, and his performance in Goodyear could go a long way toward a successful 2024 season and eventual promotion to The Show. If Nelson's defense improves during his time at Goodyear, his path to the majors will become much clearer.