Zach Nehrir Returns to Cleburne Railroaders Outfield
CLEBURNE, Tex. (Jan. 29, 2021) – The Cleburne Railroaders announced Friday the signing of outfielder Zach Nehrir to a contract for the 2021 season.
Nehrir (pronounced NARE-ee-er) returns to Cleburne after playing a vital role in Milwaukee’s 2020 American Association Championship. The 28-year-old notched two hits in each of the first three games of the Finals, finishing the series 7-for-18 (.389) with three doubles, two home runs, five runs scored and six RBI. Nehrir was named Finals MVP as the Milkmen downed the Sioux Falls Canaries, four games to one.
During the regular season, Nehrir served as Milwaukee’s everyday right fielder, slashing .196/.259/.263 with five doubles and three home runs. His trademark exceptional defense earned him national recognition, with a leaping grab on July 11 against St. Paul that was featured on SportsCenter’s Top 10 as the #5 play of the night. Nehrir also added seven outfield assists, good for second in the American Association in 2020.
The Milkmen added Nehrir as the first pick of the second round (7th overall) in the 2020 American Association dispersal draft.
As a member of the Railroaders in 2019, Nehrir compiled a stellar 2019 season that included a selection as a Midseason All-Star. Playing in 97 games as the Railroaders primary centerfielder, Nehrir slashed .285/.364/.490 for a career-best .853 OPS. After hitting nine home runs combined in his first three seasons as a professional, Nehrir launched 12 round-trippers in 2019, adding four triples and a league-leading 34 doubles. His 50 combined extra-base hits finished tied for third on the circuit. The native of Orange, California finished the season with 4.5 Wins Above Replacement, ranking second in the league behind Gary SouthShore’s Colin Willis.
Defensively, Nehrir led all American Association outfielders with 0.77 dWAR, racking up eight outfield assists to tie for fifth on the league leaderboard. Despite being hampered by a foot injury throughout the season, Nehrir also added 13 stolen bases.
Nehrir put together a brilliant 2018 season with the Wichita Wingnuts in his first American Association campaign. The 6’2, 205-pounder notched career highs in every meaningful statistical category, posting a .312 batting average with 20 doubles, four triples, seven home runs, and 61 RBI. Nehrir also led the American Association with 38 steals in 42 attempts, setting a new Wichita franchise record in the process. In addition to his offensive exploits, the speedy centerfielder topped the circuit with 11 outfield assists.
Prior to his independent league debut in 2018, Nehrir spent parts of three seasons in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization, most recently with Class-A Kane County. The right-handed hitting outfielder was a 2015 16th round pick by the Diamondbacks out of Houston Baptist University, where he hit .333 as a senior to earn All-Conference honors. Arizona assigned Nehrir to short-season Hillsboro for his professional debut, where he impressed immediately with a .297 average and 15 doubles over the course of 40 games. He was tabbed a Northwest League Mid-Season All-Star for his performance.
Nehrir was promoted to Kane County the following season, and once again got off to a blistering start, hitting .299 before a hand injury and mid-season swoon left his final average at .242 for the Cougars. Nehrir was still selected as a Midwest League All-Star, and received a call-up to High-A Visalia for 18 games midway through the 2016 season. The Diamondbacks released Nehrir 17 games into the 2017 campaign, split between Kane County and Visalia.
By Denning Gerig, Cleburne Railroaders