The Milwaukee Brewers starting rotation is one currently in flux with Corbin Burnes demoted to AAA and Freddy Peralta on the IL. Pitchers are set to fill those spots in the short-term, but the team could be receiving a boost to that group very soon.
The Milwaukee Brewers received some pleasant news today when Adam McCalvy reported that pitcher Jimmy Nelson should soon be moving on to the next step in his journey back to the big leagues.
Nelson threw five innings in a simulated game in extended spring training, and the results were good. As long as he doesn’t have any issues in the recovery from that outing, he should be ready for a rehab assignment.
This is big news for a pitcher who hasn’t thrown in a game in the majors since September 8th, 2017. The Brewers have been extremely cautious with Nelson’s recovery since his specific shoulder injury is extremely rare and didn’t have a timetable for recovery that was particularly easy to define. It appears, however, that Brewers fans might finally get to see him pitch in a major league game in the coming months.
A Pitcher With Potential
A pitcher who had flashed big talent at times, Nelson had finally found the consistency to match the talent as one of the Brewers’ top starters in 2017. Nelson’s 199 strikeouts by far led the team that year. His 1.249 WHIP ranked second among the six Brewer pitchers who started more than 10 games while his 3.49 ERA ranked third.
Unfortunately, during that fateful September game against the Chicago Cubs, Nelson hurt his shoulder diving back to first base after hitting a single and had to be pulled from the game. It would be announced the next week that Nelson would have shoulder surgery, beginning a long journey to recovery.
What Will This Mean for the Rotation?
First things first, Nelson will have to show during rehab starts in the minor leagues that he is ready to be called up to pitch for the Brewers. Even once that happens, Nelson isn’t guaranteed a spot in the rotation.
But the Brewers’ early season struggles in the starting rotation are well documented. Jhoulys Chacin, the team’s opening day starter, essentially has a spot locked down barring injury or total meltdown. Zach Davies, after his surprising start to the year as the most effective Brewers starter, won’t lose his spot any time soon either.
After that, spots are somewhat up for grabs. Burnes has already been demoted to AAA after a terrible start to the season and Peralta is currently on the injured list. Brandon Woodruff seemingly has the longest leash of the three young Brewer pitchers who are new to the regular starting rotation this year, but if he doesn’t eventually improve his 5.81 ERA even his spot could be in jeopardy. Chase Anderson and Adrian Houser are the current fill-ins for the open rotation spots, but neither have been permanently installed as starters going forward.
Milwaukee Brewers fans have been patiently waiting for Nelson to be ready to start again for over a year and a half now. In a year where Milwaukee is expected to contend for another division title and attempt a second consecutive deep run into the playoffs, a healthy Nelson could be a big key to making that happen. But as they say: one step at a time.