Grading the Brewers: Jimmy Nelson


I wish I could grade that facial hair…it is terrible. He should work on that during the off-season. Photo: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

I thought I would get this one off of my plate because there is not much to grade.  While it was very exciting to see Jimmy Nelson make a few appearances, it was also hard to get any real idea of what we have in the kid.  It is easy to have high hopes based off of the incredibly small sample we got from Nelson in 2013, but we also need to be realistic.  There is not a lot to learn from 4 appearances, and that goes for all sports. 

Be that as it may, I will be grading Mr. Jimmy Nelson on his first stint with the Brewers.  However, I am not sure how to go about it.  I feel like my usual categories will be unfair to Jimmy, but I also cannot give him special treatment.  Even if he is our #1 prospect, he still needs to be treated like every other Yuniesky Betancourt on the roster. 

So, without any further nonsense…here is Jimmy Nelson’s first Brewers grade.


Ok, with only 4 games to go off of I can’t find much wrong with his performance.  In his 3 bullpen appearances he looked like he could handle throwing to major league hitters.  Then he got one start and it went pretty well.  In his first starting appearance, Nelson threw 5 innings and only gave up 1 earned run.  The Brewers went on to win that game in the 10th inning, giving Nelson a no decision.  But in that start he had moments where he lost his cool.  One particular instance involved a pitch flying way over the head of David Wright.  In fact, the pitch was so high over his head I don’t think anyone thought for a second it was intentional.  But the kid managed to keep the Mets at bay and looked pretty confident doing it.  He only gets an A because of his 0.90 ERA and because I need him to have a little confidence boost going into the off-season.

Attitude – INC

I know what you are asking yourself, “Lou, how can you give a guy an A one second and then an Incomplete the next?”  The answer is simple, I am the teacher and I do what I want.  I have no reason to suspect he has a bad attitude, but I also have no reason to believe he is the second coming of Mariano Rivera either.  This category is almost irrelevant for a September call up because young players are going to be on their best behavior.  The real attitude doesn’t come out until they spend a few months playing ball in the big leagues.  Nelson seems like a smart kid with a good head on his shoulders, but that is hardly a basis for academic grading.  If you don’t like my grades, you can go to another prestigious university. 

“Eye Test” – B

This one is a little trickier because I did have plenty of time to get a look at Nelson.  When I think of a #1 prospect and that player being a pitcher, generally I expect them to make an immediate and valuable impact on the club.  While I think Jimmy crack-corn could be a solid #2 or #3 pitcher, I do not foresee him being an “Ace” of any kind.  On the flip side, you need guys like Jimmy Nelson.  When Kyle Lohse vacates this roster one day, Jimmy Nelson will be a solid replacement.  If things work out the way they should, our future will hold a Johnny Hellweg and Jimmy Nelson 1-2 punch…this could grow to be one of the most formidable young starters in the game.  Or not… Either way, I like Nelson’s size and presence on the mound.  If he keeps working on his control and delivery, he will be a solid piece of the Brewers future. 

Overall Grade – B  

I like Nelson.  If potential was a currency, the kid would not need to pitch because he would be on his private jet with Kate Upton.  Unfortunately, until potential turns into actual results we are left with hope.  Giving someone a B means that you have hope they can be excellent, but you are not yet ready to give them that kind of validation.  It’s hard to not like what could be, but I have been burned before.  Falling in love with a prospect is easy to do, so I am going to stay hopefully optimistic on his future.