Altermatt ready to join White Sox's minor-league team

·3 min read

Jul. 22—On Tuesday, Nick Altermatt had a little party, and on Wednesday, he spent all day contemplating his future.

Now, the former Minnesota State pitcher is trying to get everything done so he can fly to Birmingham, Alabama, on Sunday to begin his professional baseball career.

"There's a lot going on, but it's good things," he said.

Altermatt was selected Tuesday in the Major League Baseball draft, going to the Chicago White Six in the 17th round. He was the 521st player picked in the three-day draft. Minnesota State has now had 37 players taken in the Major League Baseball draft.

He had been following the draft through a web site, hoping to see his name get selected.

"When you start to get to the later rounds, you start to think that maybe it won't happen," Altermatt said. "I was sitting on the couch, and I started getting all kinds of texts from friends. Then I got the call (from the White Sox), and that was it."

Minnesota State coach Matt Magers said that Altermatt had the attention of professional scouts, but in September, at the annual tryout on campus, Altermatt was throwing his fastball in the low 90s mph.

"Then he hit 94, 95, 96," Magers said. "When that happens, they usually say 'one more fastball.' Then he hit 97, and the scouts really took notice.

"Nick has put in a lot of work to be in that position. It's exciting when you see those guys get that opportunity, and when it happens, other guys see that it might be possible for them, too."

Last season, Altermatt went 10-1 with a 2.92 earned-run average while striking out 75 batters in 58 1/3 innings. He also led the Mavericks with a .378 batting average with 21 doubles, 11 home runs and 64 RBIs, earning All-America honors.

For his career Altermatt had a 17-3 record with a 2.40 ERA in 116 1/3 innings.

"He was one of our top pitchers and one of our top hitters," Magers said. "He leaves a big hole in our lineup. He's the kind of player who only comes along every 10 years or so, but that's why you have depth in your program. We have some guys who will need to step up."

Altermatt said that as of now, he'll only be a pitcher in the minor leagues.

"Hopefully, I can focus on just one side of the game and get better," he said. "It will be tough (giving up hitting), but I'm ready for the next challenge."

Altermatt's fastball is complemented by a changeup, which Magers said he can throw at any count to any batter. Magers said that Altermatt will have to work on his breaking pitch, but he doesn't doubt that focusing solely on pitching will benefit the righthander.

"His best days are ahead of him in pitching," Magers said. "He was pretty raw when he got here, but every year, he's become a little more knowledgeable. There are a lot of tools out there that will help him develop. He's always had the work ethic."

Altermatt pitched for the Mankato MoonDogs for a couple week in June before returning to his parents' house in Wanda where he has played town baseball. He still has one year of eligibility remaining, but he'll turn 23 in September, which is already getting a bit old to start a baseball career.

"It was a tough decision not to come back and play with all my friends," Altermatt said. "But I know this is the right move."

Altermatt will fly to Birmingham on Sunday and sign his contract. He'll go through workouts before getting placed in one of the White Sox's minor-league teams. There's a lot of unknowns but he's excited to figure out his new profession.

"I'm pretty clueless about how this works," he said.

Follow Chad Courrier on Twitter @ChadCourrier.