Breakthrough Series MVP inspired by 'the Robinson way'

June 14th, 2022

For Nazzan Zanetello, participating in the Breakthrough Series meant something bigger than baseball. So when he was named MVP, he didn’t talk about his skills on the field or how he’s ranked by Perfect Game as the No. 35 prospect in the class of 2023, but his style of play: The Jackie Robinson way. 

“This award means a lot to me, because this week at the Breakthrough Series we talked a lot about playing the Robinson way,” Zanetello said. “If you look around the walls in the building, there’s a lot of keywords: excellence, teamwork, integrity, courageousness. That means I represented all of that, so that means a lot that they noticed that.” 

The Breakthrough Series, which was held at the Jackie Robinson Training Complex in Vero Beach, Fla., last week, is an MLB developmental program that gives highly ranked Draft prospects a chance to be scouted by professional and college scouts. 

Zanetello was named the MLB Develops MVP presented by Chevrolet at the conclusion of the Breakthrough Series by Del Matthews, vice president of baseball development. As an added bonus, he’ll be honored on the field at Game 2 of the 2022 World Series.

Zanetello, who plays for Christian Brothers College High School in Missouri, re-opened his recruitment in late February after decommitting from Miami and has yet to decide where he plans to attend college. 

In Zanetello’s first year participating in the event, the 17-year-old learned from the likes of former MLB players such as Rajai Davis and Gregor Blanco, as well as Jerry Manuel, who used to manage the White Sox and Mets, and Mike Scioscia, who won a World Series as a player (1988 Dodgers) and as a manager (2002 Angels). 

Though Scioscia’s lessons on baserunning stood out to Zanetello most, there was something else he took away from being part of the Breakthrough Series and the impact it has made on athletes.

“I want to be a part of Breakthrough Series, because as a young African American man who plays baseball, this is where you want to be,” Zanetello said last week. “It paved the way for a lot of young athletes like the Cam Colliers and Termarr Johnsons, and now look where they are.”