Dylan Nelson was such a force on Galileo Academy’s baseball team in his junior and senior years that when he was redshirted at the College of San Mateo his first season out of high school, the lack of competition nearly killed him.
That year off the field drove Nelson, one of the most decorated athletes in Academic Athletic Association history, into a scholarship to play at Cal.
Nelson will join the Bears next season after a season where he had a 3.50 ERA in 46¹⁄³ innings pitched at CSM, almost entirely out of the bullpen.
“I had a little chip on my shoulder going into the season,” Nelson said. “I worked hard in that redshirt season, trying to prove everyone on the coaching staff wrong. I also wanted to prove to myself that I was better than I thought that first year.”
Nelson is the first player from a San Francisco public high school to receive a Division I baseball scholarship since Lowell’s Charlie Cutler, who also committed to Cal after his senior season in 2005 and is now with the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ system.
"I try to represent San Francisco in everything I do — the school I came from and the people I played with,” Nelson said. “I’m lucky enough to play Division I baseball and I’m hoping that’s just another step in the journey.”
Nelson’s numbers may not seem impressive at first glance, but his ERA is skewed by one bad outing, when he allowed eight earned runs in just 1²⁄³ innings against De Anza. Other than that outing, he had 13 scoreless appearances out of the bullpen, had two starts (including a complete-game win against Diablo Valley) and also had four saves as the closer.
It is that versatility that attracted Cal, as well as a significant increase in velocity. At Galileo, he regularly threw in the mid-80s, but now throws in the low 90s with regularity.
“He’s improved physically quite a bit,” CSM coach Doug Williams said. “His velocity has increased, his slider is really good and he has a good changeup. Most importantly, he became a different type of pitcher mentally. He can now handle the adversity of any situation.”
Nelson is now on a summer stint with the Rochester (Minn.) Honkers of the Northwoods League, an elite collegiate summer league. Prior to joining the Honkers, he also played four games for the Omaha (Neb.) Diamond Spirit of the MINK League, another collegiate league, and was name MINK Pitcher of the Week in early June.