ST. PAUL, MN (February 4, 2014) – Last season the St. Paul Saints welcomed Bob Dylan to Midway Stadium for a concert that didn’t disappoint. This year the Saints are hoping bring down the house with Nelson and Morrison. That’s left-handed pitcher Cole Nelson and right-handed pitcher Kyle Morrison as both were re-signed for the 2014 season.
The 24-year-old Nelson had a solid season for the Saints and caught the eyes of the Atlanta Braves organization, having his contract purchased on June 17 before being released and rejoining the Saints in early August. Prior to being signed Nelson was named the American Association Pitcher of the Week in mid-June and had a 2-2 record and 2.86 ERA with the Saints in seven games (five starts) including a complete game shutout. In 34.2 innings pitched he walked 15 and struck out 26 while opponents hit a paltry .214 against him. Overall with the Saints he was 5-3 with a 3.64 ERA in 13 games (11 starts). In 64.1 innings pitched he walked 35 and struck out 42 while opponents hit .236 against him.
Nelson spent from June 18-August 1 with the Rome Braves, the Single-A affiliate of the Braves. With Rome he pitched in nine games, all in relief, registering a 0-1 record and 6.91 ERA in 14.1 innings of work. Nelson struck out 15 and walked 11.
Nelson graduated from Edina High School and went to Des Moines Area Community College where he was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 45th round of the 2009 June Amateur Draft, but elected not to sign. He played at Auburn University in 2010 and was a 10th round pick by the Detroit Tigers in the 2010 June Amateur Draft. In nine games pitched between the Gulf Coast League and Single-A Lakeland, Nelson was 1-0 with a 0.66 ERA in 2010.
In 2011 Nelson began the season with Lakeland before being traded to the Twins, along with pitcher Lester Oliveras, in exchange for Delmon Young. Nelson went 6-12 with a 4.67 ERA between the two teams.
During his only full season with the Twins organization Nelson spent 2012 with Single-A Fort Myers where he went 5-8 with a 6.26 ERA and two saves in 23 games (14 starts). In 82.0 innings he walked 49 and struck out 66 while opponents hit .328 against him.
The 26-year-old Morrison joined the Saints on August 5 of last season in a trade with the Newark Bears, of the Can-Am League, in exchange for a player to be named later. He went 0-1 with a 5.71 ERA in 10 relief appearances. In 17.1 innings he walked 12 and struck out 16 while opponents hit .290 against him. Prior to joining the Saints, however, Morrison was having a fantastic season with the Bears. In 30.1 innings of work he was 0-1 with an impressive 2.37 ERA. He walked 22 while striking out 34.
Morrison also spent part of the 2011 season and the entire 2012 season with Newark. In limited action in 2012 Morrison posted a 4.60 ERA in 29.1 innings while whiffing 33.
In 2009 Morrison was chosen by the Washington Nationals in the 32nd round of the June Amateur Draft out of Wagner College. He spent from 2009 through part of 2011 with the Nationals organization and reached High A Potomac in 2011.
The Saints have signed seven players during the off-season, five pitchers and two position players. The Saints 2014 season begins on May 15 with a 7:05 p.m. game against the defending American Association Champion Gary SouthShore Railcats.