Arjun Nimmala could make history as the first Major League Baseball player of Indian descent, Daily Hive reports.
On Sunday, the opening day of the MLB draft, the Toronto Blue Jays selected Nimmala with their first pick, the 20th pick overall.
The 17-year-old from Strawberry Crest High School in Dover, Florida, is one of the youngest players drafted this year. His skills have already caught the notice of talent scouts and fans, skills which the Blue Jays have indicated they hope to develop further before putting him on the field.
“The power, the arm strength, the actions defensively, playing at a premium position, that all makes him a really exciting player and somebody I’m really, really happy to get into the farm system,” said the Blue Jay’s amateur scouting director, Shane Farrell, speaking to The Athletic.
The farm system refers to Minor League teams affiliated with MLB teams, in which they can grow the talent of young players.
In a profile on Nimmala for The Athletic, his high school coach Eric Beattie also mentioned the 6’1, 170-pound first-draft pick’s batting strength, saying “I don’t think I’ve ever seen anybody hit with the same amount of power that Arjun hits with.”
Arjun Nimmala joins another Indian American, 2022 third-round draftee Kumar Rocker, as two of the best candidates to be the first MLB player of Indian descent. Kumar Rocker is part of the Texas Rangers organization but hasn’t yet made it to the field in a Major League game.
Nimmala’s parents immigrated to the United States from Andhra Pradesh, where his father played cricket. In an interview on the MLB Network, he described first learning to play cricket from his dad, and then transitioning to baseball, a change which he called “a lot.”
Nimmala has already made history as the highest-drafted player of Indian descent and says that he hopes that he will inspire more Indian American interest in baseball if he makes it to play in the MLB.
Asked when he first came to the realization he could make it to the Major Leagues, Nimmala told MLB Network: “It’s always been a belief of mine that y’know, I could always hang with the best, but kind of at the age of 12, is when I first [realized]—it was really young, when realized there was a good bit of talent in the way I play.”
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