When it comes to the future of the Milwaukee Brewers’ starting rotation, one has to believe that Jimmy Nelson will find himself among the candidates. After all, the Brewers are a team that likes to build from within and since Nelson was ranked as a top prospect, it’s certainly an idea that has to be floating about.
Can Nelson be a part of this starting rotation in the coming years?
Jimmy Nelson pitched in the All-Star Futures Game earlier this season. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
With what Nelson has done so far in September (three games pitched, five scoreless innings), I suggest that you do not invest a whole lot of stock into it. Had Nelson been called up earlier like Rob Wooten or Donovan Hand, I would say sure, this may be what we’ll see from Nelson in the future, but he’s a September call-up so that isn’t the case.
Looking at 2012’s call-ups, the most notable was Wily Peralta who was electric in his starts, but once 2013 hit, he regressed from that brilliant September, which is why I can’t bank everything on a September guy.
Still, Nelson has had a successful minor league campaign, which really comes as no surprise since he was named the top prospect in the Brewers’ organization. In Triple-A Nashville this year, Nelson posted an ERA of 3.67 in 83.1 innings (15 starts) with a record of 5-6. Nelson struggled with walking batters, hosting a BB/9 of 5.4, but did throw some fire out on the mound with a K/9 of 9.83.
That said, it doesn’t seem the organization has much confidence in starting the young pitcher in this last week of the season, so I’m sure we’ll see starts in Spring Training. Granted, nobody can really argue with the logic here as Nelson probably isn’t ready to make major league starts just yet. If Nelson goes to a winter league and dazzles in Spring Training, perhaps then he’ll find himself competing.
Looking at the big picture though, Nelson will eventually find his way into this rotation. After next season, Yovani Gallardo will be a free-agent and Kyle Lohse will only have one more year left on his contract. The future of the Brewers’ starting rotation looks rather bleak, but depending on how well he does, those concerns may be washed away by Nelson, but only time will tell.
It very well maybe another half a season until the Brewers see Nelson back up in Milwaukee, even if he were to do well in every stage beforehand. With a guy like Nelson, you don’t want to rush him up to the majors and have him fizzle out. Yes, the road may be bumpy for him, much like it has been for Peralta, but Nelson can and will find a way to navigate himself to live up to the hype.