Milwaukee Brewers: Should Jimmy Nelson stay in the rotation?

Matthew Dewoskin
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 15: Jimmy Nelson #52 of the Milwaukee Brewers pitches during the first inning against the San Francisco Giants at Oracle Park on June 15, 2019 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 15: Jimmy Nelson #52 of the Milwaukee Brewers pitches during the first inning against the San Francisco Giants at Oracle Park on June 15, 2019 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images) /
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Jimmy Nelson has made two starts for the Milwaukee Brewers in 2019, and he has an ERA over 9.00. Should he stay in the rotation any longer?

The fact that Jimmy Nelson is pitching at baseball’s highest level in 2019 is impressive. After missing almost two full years of his career, Nelson finally finished his rehab assignment, made a handful of appearances in the Minors, and was activated back to the Major League roster.

He’s made two starts, with a 10-day gap in between, and the results haven’t been promising. Is it time to for the Milwaukee Brewers to move Nelson out of the rotation?

How bad have his first two starts been?

Bad enough that most would notice.

In his first two starts back, Nelson has tossed seven innings and owns a 10.29 ERA. He’s been tagged for nine runs, eight earned, on nine hits and six walks. He’s managed to strike out eight, and he’s given up one home run. Keep in mind that he’s faced the Marlins and the Giants. Imagine what would happen if he had to face the Rockies in Colorado. Or the Dodgers…anywhere.

Nelson has also seen a dip in velocity as he’s averaging about 93 MPH on his heater, and 85 MPH on his slider. His fastball is down about two MPH from his peak, and his slider is missing about three MPH. His fastball has also been noticeably straighter than it was in years past.

Could he be better in the bullpen?

Allowing Nelson to work through his struggles in the bullpen would be like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. It would limit the amount of damage that he could give up. In a perfect world, Nelson would spend a few months in Triple-A starting every fifth day, building up his arm strength, and rediscovering the movement that he had before the injury. However, the Milwaukee Brewers are stuck with Nelson in the Majors unless he suffers another injury.

Nelson may not be better in the bullpen, but can he be worse?

Who would take his spot in the rotation?

Left-hander Gio Gonzalez is still working through his dead arm period, and Corbin Burnes still has an ERA just south of 9.00.

Next. Is Travis Shaw back?. dark

Jhoulys Chacin is expected to return from the Injured List next week. In fact, his return could coincide with Nelson’s next start. Chacin will return to the starting rotation, and his activation could force Nelson to the bullpen. Chacin hasn’t been fantastic this year, but he has gobbled up innings, and was arguably the Milwaukee Brewers best starter in 2018. He’s going to get another shot at a starting role, and there’s a non-zero chance that he’ll bump Nelson into the bullpen.

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