Eric Nedeljkovic wasn’t a highly recruited pitcher coming out of Folsom High in 2008.
However, Nedeljkovic made the most of his opportunity at Sierra College, eventually signing with the University of Miami where he blossomed into a standout closer in his final season.
On June 8, Nedeljkovic was selected by the Colorado Rockies in the 21st round of the Major League Baseball draft. He reports this week to Tri City in Washington for short season rookie ball.
Nedeljkovic said the Rockies had shown the most interest in him prior to the draft and shortly before he was chosen a Rockies scout contacted him and told him to start listening to the draft on the internet.
“It was very exciting to hear my name and to be drafted,” Nedeljkovic said. “It was kind of surreal. (Playing pro ball) is absolutely something that I thought about growing up. As a kid, I followed the guys in college and when I got to Miami I followed where the guys went as pros.”
Nedeljkovic had a strong senior season, leading the Atlantic Coast Conference with 13 saves, while posting an earned run average of 1.37. In 54 games over two seasons with the Hurricanes, Nedeljkovic posted a 2-3 record and an earned run average of 1.58. He appeared in 54 games, saving 17. In 51 2/3 innings, he struck out 48 batters and walked only 10.
Becoming a pro started to become a possibility while Nedeljkovic was pitching for Sierra. When he signed with Miami, his belief became stronger.
“I knew I could pitch at the next level once I got to Miami and then I started to get attention from pro scouts,” he said.
In his senior year at Folsom High, Nedeljkovic pitched in seven games, starting six. At Sierra College, he made one start and otherwise was the team’s closer, a role he clearly loves having come into his own this past season.
“I love the pressure of it,” Nedeljkovic said. “It’s do or die. Usually the game is on the line and you have to be at your best, make your pitch and do your job.”
Nedeljkovic has a fastball that ranges from 88 to 92 miles per hour and also throws a slider and change-up.