Nester returns to the Railroaders after spending the COVID-shortened 2020 season with the Winnipeg Goldeyes. The 31-year-old was selected by Winnipeg in the ninth round of the American Association Dispersal Draft, and delivered a strong season despite the Goldeyes playing each of their 60 games on the road. Nester finished the season with a .259/.321/.418 slash line, good for a .739 OPS. Nester has produced an OPS of .736 or better in all five of his seasons at the Independent level.
Defensively, Nester’s reputation as the league’s premier backstop was further cemented with an excellent performance behind the plate. Winnipeg allowed only 28 stolen base attempts in 60 games, establishing a new American Association record for fewest attempts per game (0.47). For his career, Nester has thrown out 30% of all base-stealers, including an American Association-best 44% in 2015.
Nester started his professional career with three seasons in the Oakland Athletics organization after being drafted in the 39th round out of Clemson. The 30-year old was released following the 2012 season, and spent the following year with the Evansville Otters of the Frontier League. After an impressive campaign in which he hit .287, Nester was snapped up by the San Diego Padres organization, where he split the 2014 season between three minor league levels. He signed with Wichita in 2015, helping the Wingnuts to a 59-41 record and a South Division title. The 6'1, 210-pounder played in 80 games, hitting .281 with five home runs, 19 doubles, and 43 RBI.
The 2018 campaign marked Nester's first playing time since 2015, as he spent the 2016 and 2017 season as a catching instructor in the San Diego Padres minor league system. Nester spent the majority of 2018 with Wichita, hitting .269 with seven home runs and 50 RBI over 92 games for the American Association club. The backstop finished the year with the Somerset Patriots of the Atlantic League, appearing in five games and recording four hits.