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Big Moment Punctuates First Spring Training For Blue Jays’ Arjun Nimmala — College Baseball, MLB Draft, Prospects

Big Moment Punctuates First Spring Training For Blue Jays' Arjun Nimmala — College Baseball, MLB Draft, Prospects

One of the feel-good moments of the Blue Jays’ spring came on March 20 when Arjun Nimmala, the club’s first-round pick last summer, made his Grapefruit League debut count by taking veteran lefty Brian Moran deep.

The 18-year-old shortstop is 17 years younger than Moran, and when they lefty threw a 3-1 fastball over the plate, Nimmala hammered it deep to left field. The jubilation of his coaches and teammates showed that the swing made an impression.

“It was a lot of fun inside of that moment,” Nimmala said. “Words really can’t explain it. It’s like, ‘Wow, first at-bat, first home run.’ It was definitely a lot of fun and I tried to embrace the moment as much as I can.

“I got a lot of congrats and pats on the back from all the coaches and teammates. It was a great moment.”

Even if he’s a long way from the big leagues after just nine Rookie-level Florida Complex League games a year ago, the power he showed also underscored the upside that made him the 20th overall pick out of high school near Tampa. 

For Nimmala, the instant impact also reinforced to him how “it all comes down to what you do in the offseason,” he said, and that “being able to do that was definitely a good check mark, and it shows that work was definitely meaningful.”

Nimmala walked in his other two plate appearances during his two appearances with the big league team.

Beforehand, Blue Jays manager John Schneider urged him to simply get his work in and to see what the reps are like in a more advanced environment. Nimmala responded after a winter in which he once again worked out with Francisco Lindor.

“Understanding what it takes to be the best at that position is definitely something that I’ve been learning from him,” Nimmala said. “He’s naturally talented at a lot of things. Same goes for me. Not really trying to mimic stuff . . . just trying to see how it would work for me.”

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