Each week we will work our way down the Brewers top prospect list, updating our readers on the “Micro-Brews” progress down on the farm. We begin our weekly series with top ranked prospect, pitcher Jimmy Nelson.
Nelson is not only our #1 ranked prospect at Reviewing the Brew, he is the consensus top prospect within the Brewers system according to both Jonathan Mayo at MLB.com and Baseball America. The early returns in 2014 validate Nelson’s place not only within the Brewers system but throughout baseball. Through 12 games in Triple A Nashville, 11 of those being starts, Nelson has a 7-1 records with a sparkling 1.51 earned run average. His domination of the Pacific Coast League can be seen not only on the surface statistically but in some peripheral stats. In 77.2 innings, Nelson has a .168 batting average against only allowing 46 hits in 2014. The 25 year-old starting pitcher is in line for a promotion given his start to 2014 whether in the rotation or the bullpen.
While Nelson’s success and potential promotion should be about his merits thus far in 2014, the promotion seems to loom even larger because of the recent struggles of Marco Estrada. Estrada leads all pitchers with 23 home runs allowed thus far in 2014 and without this trend changing may see his spot in the rotation disappear.
Jimmy Nelson is a big part of the Brewers future but also is in the immediate thought process for GM Doug Melvin for in season improvement as the team chases a pennant.
Could Nelson move into the rotation and bump Estrada to the bullpen?
Following the season Yovani Gallardo has a club option for 13 million dollars, has Nelson done enough to let the Brewers move on from that commitment to Gallardo? Has he done enough to non-tender Marco Estrada a player up for arbitration?
Regardless of the answers to the questions above the answer is clear on one thing, Jimmy Nelson is a piece of the puzzle moving forward. For a minor league system that has taken some heat for it’s overall quality, Nelson is a legitimate prospect that will graduate following the season. Whether he makes to Milwaukee this season is to be seen but he will be there sooner than later.