Ricardo Michael Nanita
- Bats Left, Throws Left
- Height 6' 0", Weight 205 lb.
- School Florida International University
Ricardo Nanita has played as high as AAA.
Nanita began his career by being drafted out of a US college, an unusual start for a Dominican native who attended high school in the Dominican Republic. He hit .388 as a senior at Florida International University, putting him third in the Sun Belt Conference. The Chicago White Sox chose Nanita in the 14th round of the 2003 amateur draft; he was their only pick between #10 and #18 who wound up signing with the team, being signed by Jose Ortega.
Nanita made his pro debut with the Great Falls White Sox and made an immediate impact. He hit .384/.445/.546 with 38 runs and 37 RBI in 47 games before a wrist injury ended his season on August 12. He had a 30-game hitting streak, setting a Pioneer League record. Nanita finished second in the league in average (behind Lou Palmisano) and in OBP (.007 behind Joey Votto). Baseball America rated him as having the best pro debut (along with one other player) among all 2003 White Sox draftees. He was also rated as the league's #19 prospect, between Carlos Gonzalez and Juan Morillo. Nanita was named to the All-Star outfield alongside Warner Madrigal and Terry Trofholz.
Ricardo looked much more human in 2004 but still did well for the Kannapolis Intimidators (.316/.400/.391 in 61 G) and the Winston-Salem Warthogs (.241/.326/.327 in 55 G). Had he qualified, he would have ranked 7th in the South Atlantic League in average, right behind Delmon Young and Ian Stewart.
Nanita put up a .292/.392/.453 line for the 2005 Warthogs with 36 doubles and 73 runs. He was 11th in the Carolina League in average. Ricardo was 3 for 10 that winter with the Licey Tigers. Baseball America rated him as having the best strike-zone discipline of a ChiSox farmhand going into 2006. In 2006, the Santo Domingo native hit .286/.372/.407 for the Birmingham Barons. He was 5th in the Southern League in OBP (.034 behind leader Votto) and was 9h in average. He made the All-SL outfield alongside Jerry Gil and Christopher Walker.
Despite having led Birmingham in average and OBP in 2006, he returned to the same club in 2007 and produced at a .260/.316/.344 rate for a significant drop-off. He hit .286 that winter with Licey. In 2008, Ricardo finished his time in the Chicago chain by batting .286/.351/.415 with the Barons. The Washington Nationals took him in the AAA phase of the 2008 Rule V Draft.
Nanita battled injury in his time in the Nationals system, hitting .286/.353/.429 in 9 games for the GCL Nationals and .294/.338/.508 in 41 contests for the AA Harrisburg Senators. He also played for two Mexican League teams in 2009, the Veracruz Eagle (.297/.338/.344 in 15 G) and the Monterrey Sultans (.313/.343/.422 in 14 G).
Ricardo started 2010 very well with the Olmecas de Tabasco, hitting .341/.401/.491 in 62 games. That great performance raised the interest of the Toronto Blue Jays, who signed him late in the season and sent him to the AA New Hampshire Fisher Cats, where he hit .238 in 6 games. He split 2011 between New Hampshire and the AAA Las Vegas 51s, hitting a combined .330/.378/.480 in 109 games. In 2012, he played 92 games at Las Vegas, hitting .306/..353/.465. He was on the Dominican national team roster for the 2010 Central American and Caribbean Games. He was a member of the winning Dominican Republic national team in the 2013 World Baseball Classic. That season, he missed a lot of time to injury, and ended up splitting the year between New Hampshire and the Jays' new AAA affiliate, the Buffalo Bisons. His average fell to .258 in 74 games.
Still waiting to make his big league debut at 32 at the start of the 2014 season, he was part of the Blue Jays' team that played a couple of exhibition games against the New York Mets at Montreal's Stade Olympique. With more than 46,000 fans cheering him on, he pinch-hit for Jonathan Diaz against Bobby Parnell with two on and two out in the 9th and the scored tied at 4. He drove a pitch up the middle, driving in Munenori Kawasaki, for a game-winning single that made him the hero of the game.