Nathan Patterson hasn’t played high-level baseball since his senior year of high school, but after an impressive round at the speed pitch challenge at a Rockies game, where he hit 96 mph on the radar gun, the 23-year-old now has a signed contract with the Oakland A’s.
There’s a bit more to it than just that fairytale moment, but as Patterson tells it to MLB.com, his showing on the radar gun in Colorado was the final push that got him a gig in the A’s organization, after nearly a year of training and working through adversity.
Patterson’s story starts with a different speed pitch challenge, from last August at a Nashville Sounds game (then the Athletics’ Triple-A team). According to MLB, he hit 96 in the pitching cage there, even though he hadn’t thrown “for a few years before that.”
Patterson began training in earnest not long after, but in December, he was hit by a car and had to have surgery on his left (non-throwing) wrist. Based on this video, however, the cast only slowed him down a few miles per hour, tops.
Patterson says the A’s had been talking to him since February, while he was pitching in a men’s league, but it was a couple weeks ago that he went to a Rockies game and fired off multiple throws in the mid-90s. The A’s, he says, called him a few days later.
On Thursday, Patterson officially signed his contract with the team:
Patterson will likely start at the lowest levels of the minor-league system, but you never know, maybe this is only the beginning of a much wilder journey to come. I mean, eight games back of the Astros, and last in the league in strikeouts, the Oakland A’s need all the help they can get.