Most people win a stuffed animal when they perfect a carnival type game, but Nathan Patterson got himself a minor-league contract. The 23-year-old was at a Colorado Rockies game when he and his brother decided to check out the speed pitch challenge booth.
Patterson started throwing 94 mph heaters and his brother recorded it, and put it on social media. It got more than 200,000 views, and 500 retweets.
More importantly, it got the Oakland Athletics, who had been in contact with Patterson, motivated to sign the right-hander to a contract. Patterson posted a picture on Instagram of him signing his contract.
— Christian Patterson (@cpatterson_7) July 15, 2019
“Words cannot describe this feeling and I cannot thank everyone enough who has been part of this journey so far!,” Patterson wrote on Instagram. “This story is not over. It is not the beginning. I am writing the next chapters and excited for this journey! Time to focus even more, work even harder, and it all starts with your mindset. Go after your dreams and make them a reality!”
On A’s Radar
Patterson, who grew up in the Nashville, Tenn. area, was a pitcher for his high school baseball team, but said he wasn’t very good, and didn’t pursue it any further. A year ago, though, he was at a Nashville Sounds game. He went to another speed pitch challenge booth and hit 96 mph.
That shocked the then 22-year-old, and he decided to get serious about trying to play professionally. He reached out to former A’s pitcher Jarrod Parker, who runs Parker Sports Performance, to work on his pitching. Parker told a local television station that what he saw blew him away.
“He was right in the strike zone, commanding his fastball, and then he breaks out an unbelievable curve ball, so it’s like, we start smiling, because that’s fun and easy to work with,” Parker said. “We need to see him against hitters, I think everybody wants to see him get people out.”
Setback, then Success
Patterson was on his way to fulfilling his dream. He was pitching in a men’s league and working on honing his skills. He suffered a setback when he was hit by a car and had to have surgery on his non-throwing wrist in December.
By February, though, he was in contact with the A’s, and got put on the radar of scouts. He continued working with Parker and then came the trip with his brother to Coors Field for the Rockies game on July 15.
After video went viral, the A’s signed Patterson, and he reported to the Arizona League on Friday.
“Probably one of the few kids that’s ever been signed off of kind of a Twitter video or something, you know, the multimedia generation,” Parker said. “It’s times like this when you see another guy signed or you’re helping somebody along the way, and it’s like, dang, that’s cool,” Parker said. “No college, no pro experience, just a big huge arm and an unbelievable athlete.”