Asheville's Nevin robust in career game at plate

No. 18 Colorado prospect scores four runs, reaches base six times

Tyler Nevin has batted .314/.365/.491 with five home runs since returning from injury in July. (Brian McLeod/MiLB.com)

By Tyler Maun / MiLB.com | August 20, 2017 5:12 PM

It seemed like deja vu all over again when Tyler Nevin's season got pushed off track before it began. Now fully healthy and riding perhaps the best stretch of his career, he's roaring toward the 2017 finish line.

Colorado's No. 18 prospect went 5-for-5 with a triple, a double and four runs scored, reaching base six times as Class A Asheville pounded out 15 hits in a 17-8 rout of Lexington on Sunday afternoon.

Nevin's first career five-hit day started with the first hittable pitch he saw. With two outs and the bases empty in the first inning, the Tourists corner infielder roped a triple to right field to kick off a three-run inning.


Gameday box score


"I went up 3-0, and when I get 3-0, I don't automatically take," he said of his initial at-bat against Lexington starter and Royals No. 29 prospect Gerson Garabito. "If I get a pitch to hit, I'll swing at it, and I just got a good pitch to hit. It was a fastball over the plate, and I went with it, got a good kick off the wall, and I was lucky to get to third."

After walking in the third, Nevin followed Willie Abreu's leadoff walk with a single to left in the fifth. He scored on a single by Manuel Melendez in a four-run frame. Asheville's third baseman Sunday was in the mix again in his team's five-run sixth, following Abreu's two-run homer with a line-drive single to left. He eventually scored on a three-run long ball by Taylor Snyder, who led the team with four RBIs.

"Hitting's contagious, but I think when this team gets rolling, it's the best hitting team in the league, for sure," Nevin said. "Without a doubt, we've got guys up and down the lineup that can contribute. It's just a matter of putting it all together. Today, it all came together.

"It's a blast. You just keep it rolling. Nobody wants to be the guy that doesn't get a hit on a day like this. It's just a great time to be at the ballpark and enjoy it with all your teammates."

Video: Asheville's Nevin tallies fifth hit

Nevin led off the eighth with a double to center and singled to left for his final knock in the ninth, surpassing the previous pro-best 4-for-5 game he registered with a homer, two doubles and a single on July 16 against Augusta.

The son of former Major League All-Star Phil Nevin, who batted .302/.341/.558 in 21 July games, left Sunday with a .329/.391/.411 line in 18 August contests. Nevin entered this year having played just 54 Minor League games due to an extreme hamstring strain that robbed him of all but one game in 2016. This season started with trouble too. The 38th overall selection in 2015sustained a bone fracture in his left hand in April.

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"It actually happened in one of our simulated games in Asheville the day before Opening Day," he said. "I tried to do what I could the first month. I taped it up and tried different things, but it was in pain. I went back to Arizona and started rehabbing it, had a fracture and a really bad bone bruise."

The issue showed in his play. Nevin batted just .220/.333/.282 in 20 April games before returning to the Rockies' facility in Arizona to heal. His combined line since returning is .314/.365/.491 with five of his six home runs and 26 of his 33 RBIs.

"I feel really good," he said. "Looking back, I probably should have not tried to play with what I had going on the first month. I came back and I feel like a new player. It was just probably not the best move, but hey, I was trying to grind through it. I was trying to do my best to stay on the field, but sometimes, you've just got to know your body. I mean it all worked out. It's a lesson I've learned from that. If I've got something that's bothering me or taking away from my performance on the field, I've got to say something."

Working to return from injury has been a theme through Nevin's first three seasons, one he's happy to have learned from but eager to get past.

"To go through what I went through last year, I'm just fortunate to be back on the field," he said. "I'm blessed every day and fortunate for my ability to be healthy and be playing this game that I love. You take a whole year off, and you kind of feel lost in that you've always played baseball and that's your job and that's what you love doing. To have it taken away from you, it's pretty rough, but it all worked out. It's worked out so far, and hopefully I just get all my injuries out of the way early and I'll have a good, healthy career from this point out."

MLB.com's No. 62 overall prospect Riley Pint got the start for Asheville and went four innings, allowing four runs on five hits but still drew tremendous praise from his third baseman.


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"I think he's got the most electric stuff I've ever seen in person," Nevin said. "From anybody I've ever played with, anybody I've ever played against, he's by far got the most potential of any guy I've ever been on the field with. He could be a Cy Young winner two years from now if he puts some things together. For him, it's just all about putting the ball over the plate because when he's on and he's got all his stuff working, he's unhittable. I mean really, he's something special. I'm confident he will [put it together]. He's super young. This is his first full season. There's nothing but good things coming for that guy."

Garabito was charged with six runs -- two earned -- on three hits over four innings in the loss.
 

Tyler Maun is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @TylerMaun. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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