No. 3 prospect Nimmala hits game-tying homer in second career spring PA

March 20th, 2024

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- ’s first home run as a pro came in a Major League uniform. It was a clutch one, too.

The Blue Jays trailed by one run in the top of the ninth inning of Wednesday afternoon’s game against the Braves when Nimmala stepped up for his second plate appearance of big league Spring Training. He worked a 3-1 count against left-hander Brian Moran, then sent a laser to left field to tie things up at nine.

The 18-year-old Nimmala hustled out of the box and kept himself somewhat stoic even after the ball cleared the fence at CoolToday Park. That is, until he reached third. Nimmala looked up at third-base coach Carlos Febles and opened a wide smile as he banged on his chest on his way to home plate. It was an early first glance of a future filled with potential for the Blue Jays’ No. 3 prospect.

“Through this first year [of pro ball], the biggest areas of growth have been not physically or on the field, but it’d be more mental,” Nimmala said ahead of the Blue Jays’ Spring Breakout game against the Yankees on March 16. “ … Definitely mental growth and being ready from pitch one is something that I've learned over the last year.”

The shortstop put that preparation to the test in Toronto’s eventual 10-9 loss to Atlanta. Nimmala entered the game as a defensive replacement in the bottom of the seventh inning and drew a four-pitch walk in the following half. In his second plate appearance, Nimmala watched three pitches from Moran land out of the zone and away. The next pitch was a swinging strike. Nimmala didn’t miss a second time.

That line-drive homer served as an example of Nimmala’s athleticism and power potential, two major reasons why the Blue Jays selected him with the No. 20 pick in the 2023 MLB Draft.

He’s determined to show that there’s way more to his game, though.

“I think I'm a pretty balanced hitter,” Nimmala said. “I have a good display of power as well as contact, so I think I can be a very productive hitter that does things that will help the team win.”

Nimmala played nine games for the Rookie-level FCL Blue Jays last season, going 5-for-25 with three RBIs, one stolen base and 14 walks vs. eight strikeouts.