Nate Snead emerges as a standout pitcher at Tennessee

Nate Snead can light up a radar gun. The Tennessee right-handed pitcher’s fastball sits in the high 90s and touches triple digits.

It’s not uncommon for Snead to throw his fastball past a hitter. Talent evaluators rave about his fastball and overall pure arm talent.

Snead’s development and rise as a baseball prospect over the last two years are noteworthy. The South Milwaukee, Wisconsin, native has evolved from a lightly recruited high school prospect to a standout pitcher as a sophomore for the Volunteers, one of the premier teams in the Southeastern Conference, this spring.

“I’m really thankful for it, and I’m really happy to still be able to play this game,” Snead said. “I just feel like, especially from Wisconsin where not a lot of people get the atmosphere of this, it’s just so much different. I’m really thankful for it. I’m glad I took those steps.”

Snead’s journey into an impactful pitcher in college baseball’s premier conference wasn’t necessarily a realistic expectation just four years ago.

Snead was a talented high school pitcher in Wisconsin but didn’t draw significant recruiting interest. He showed quality arm talent and raw skills on the mound. He dreamed of playing at the next level and committed himself to achieving that goal.

In 2021, as a junior at South Milwaukee High School, Snead started working with pitching coach Carter Hohn at BRX Performance. This allowed him to receive personalized training and guidance. Hohn truly impacted Snead, helping him improve his strength, mobility, pitch mix and mechanics.

Snead continues to work with Hohn in the offseason and credits him for helping him develop into the pitcher he is today.

“That’s who I credit my development to,” Snead said. “If I didn’t work with him, I probably wouldn’t be playing college baseball.”

Working with a pitching coach in high school played a pivotal role in Snead’s development. During the first semester of his senior season, Snead committed to playing at Iowa Western, a quality junior college program. It was an exciting opportunity for Snead, who drew interest from other junior colleges and local Wisconsin schools, he said.

Snead’s plans quickly changed, though. In June 2022, Iowa Western’s head coach accepted the same position at Western Kentucky. This caused Snead to reevaluate his options, and he decommitted from Iowa Western and reopened the recruiting process.

Snead garnered attention from some non-Power-Five Division I programs. One school that expressed interest was Wichita State, which had former MLB manager Eric Wedge as its head coach and former MLB pitcher Mike Pelfrey as its pitching coach. The opportunity excited Snead, causing him to commit to the Shockers.

As a freshman at Wichita State in 2023, Snead made all but one of his 24 appearances out of the bullpen, posting a 3.16 ERA with 53 strikeouts and 17 walks in 42 2/3 innings. It was an encouraging first season for Snead, who showed tremendous potential at the college level.

Nate Snead
Pitcher Nate Snead of the Tennessee Volunteers during the Shriners Children’s College Showdown against the Baylor Bears at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. Photo by Kate Luffman/Tennessee Athletics.

After the season, Snead entered the transfer portal due to a coaching change and his desire to compete at college baseball’s highest level. He committed to Tennessee over interest from LSU and Arkansas.

“(Pitching coach Frank Anderson) is a big reason why I came here,” Snead said. “Development-wise, he’s really good with pitchers. He’s really easy to work with and knows what he’s talking about. A lot of people can get better under his supervision.”

Snead has already made tremendous strides under the guidance of Frank Anderson, one of the premier pitching coaches in college baseball. The 6-foot-2, 217-pound righty has added a cutter to his pitch mix, consisting also of a high-90s fastball, curveball, and changeup.

The cutter has served as a quality pitch to get ahead in counts and an offering he can use to generate swings and misses. It complements his pitch mix well and has helped him succeed as a long reliever this spring.

Snead has recorded a 3.30 ERA with 26 strikeouts and 11 walks allowed in 30 innings (seven appearances) this spring. Overall, he has improved his secondary pitches and control and command of his pitch mix, which he credits to the coaching he has received at Tennessee.

Snead is a prospect for the 2025 MLB draft, and scouts believe he can work as a starter due to his repeatable delivery and pitch mix. While Snead has dreamed of playing professional baseball for as long as he can remember, his focus remains on doing his part to help Tennessee reach its ultimate potential.

Tennessee made the College World Series last year for the second time in three seasons. This spring, the Volunteers (22-4) have the pieces to return to Omaha, Nebraska, and compete for its first national title in program history.

“I think our season is going really well,” Snead said. “The team chemistry is going to be key. It’s kind of a bland answer, and you probably would get that out of anyone, but I just feel like it’s such a big thing. Just being close to the team and being behind each other is big. I feel like the team has to do what it can to reach our goal.”

Dan Zielinski III has covered the MLB draft for nine years. He has interviewed 518 of the top draft prospects in that period, including four No. 1 overall picks. Multiple publications, including Baseball America, USA Today,, The Arizona Republic and The Dallas Morning News, have quoted his work, while he has appeared on radio stations as a “MLB draft expert.” Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.

Dan Zielinski III
Dan Zielinski III
Dan Zielinski III is the creator of the Baseball Prospect Journal and has covered the MLB draft since 2015. His draft work originally appeared on, a sports website he started in December 2011. He also covered the Milwaukee Brewers as a member of the credentialed media for four years. Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.

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