Jimmy Nelson has thrown his last pitch for the Milwaukee Brewers in 2015, according to the team’s Twitter feed. Nelson was struck in the head by a line drive by Tommy Pham during a game against the St. Louis Cardinals on September 17th. Nelson avoided serious injury, and was diagnosed with a small bruise on his brain rather than a concussion or other traumatic brain injury. He spent two nights in the hospital for observation.
Nelson had previously told the media that he felt good and was hoping to be able to start again this season. He had been scheduled to start tomorrow’s game, but Tyler Cravy will lead a “bullpen day” against the Chicago Cubs instead. Manager Craig Counsell told reporters that the neurologist thought the risk was “too great so soon after” the incident.
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That officially closes the book on Nelson’s 2015 season, his first full season in the major leagues. Nelson definitely showed that he belonged in a major league rotation, and often times looked like Milwaukee’s best starter. He finishes the season with 30 starts and 177.1 innings pitched, an 11-13 record and a 4.11 ERA (98 ERA+). Jimmy recorded 148 strikeouts against 65 walks, allowed 18 home runs, and posted a 1.286 WHIP. Nelson’s Deserved Run Average of 3.93 rates him 7% better than league average this season, while his 2.33 PWARP currently ranks the 26 year old as the 41st most valuable pitcher in baseball in 2015.
The Biloxi Shuckers will finish their season tonight in the final game of the Southern League Championship series, so it’s quite possible we could see a call-up from the Brewers AA squad to fill Nelson’s void in the rotation. If tomorrow is a bullpen day for the big league club, that would leave another two starts left this season to be made in Jimmy’s absence. One strong possibility would be seeing righty Jorge Lopez promoted to the major leagues to finish the year. Lopez was the Brewers minor league pitcher of the year and also won the Southern League pitcher of the year, so he’s certainly deserving of the reward of a cup of coffee. The 2011 second round draft pick posted a 2.26 ERA in 143.1 innings, striking out 137 against 52 walks. The 22 year old needs to be added to the 40 man roster this winter to avoid being exposed to the Rule 5 Draft.