Milwaukee Brewers Top Prospect Jimmy Nelson Starting off Strong | Disciples of Uecker

Disciples of Uecker

We'd like to go to the Playoffs, that would be cool.

The Brewers farm system isn’t exactly highly touted around the major leagues–rather, it’s usually the exact opposite. Baseball Prospectus ranked Milwaukee 29th among all teams in their organizational rankings. Sporting News, benevolently, ranked them 28th. ESPN’s Keith Law ranked them dead last.

One man–a bad, bad man–that clearly has no regards for these rankings is Jimmy Nelson. Widely regarded as the Brewers’ top prospect, Nelson has gotten off to a hot start with AAA-Nashville. On Wednesday, Nelson gave up one run on three hits over six innings. Jeff Hem reported the final line and Alec Dopp provided some additional metrics.


For comparison, Marco Estrada, who misses a considerable amount of bats, posted a swinging strike rate of 10.9% last season.

Since the 2012 season, Nelson has emerged from fringe-MLB prospect to the frontrunner for best pitcher in the farm system. He has among the best stuff of all Brewers pitching prospects–mixing a 92-96 mph fastball with a sharp slider and a developing changeup. His fastball generates sizable sink and, mixed with the slider, he tends to draw lots of ground balls. With the improvement of his changeup, he’s missing more bats, as well.

Through three starts this season, Nelson hasn’t disappointed. He’s posted a 2.50 ERA and 16 strikeouts in 18 innings to go along with a 2.70 GB/AO rate. Opponents are only hitting .172 against him, which has a lot to do with the high percentage of grounders.

While the current Brewers rotation seems to have it together, one never knows when a pitcher injury might happen. Nelson is positioning himself nicely to be in line for a potential call up in that event and it’s appearing all the more likely he will be making a push for a full-time rotation spot quite soon–possibly as early as the 2015 season.

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Tell us what do you think.

  1. Tyler says: April 17, 2014

    Thanks for the update. Two questions: 1) Who would he replace in the rotation in 2015. I might be wrong, but I thought the Brewers have all 5 SP under contract next year (assuming the pick up Yo’s option).
    2) Any news on the Brewers signing the young kid in D.R.? I know it was posted a few months back that they had a verbal agreement. I would think that would greatly improve their farm system ranks quite a bit. Seems like there is always an over emphasis on building the farm via the draft. I like the Brewers new found focus of going after international talent. Which should provide a nice compliment to the draft.

    • Klim says: April 17, 2014

      Good question. Especially with the way Thornburg has been pitching as of late. You would think he is next in line for a starting role.

      Feels like we havent had this much starting depth in the history of the brewers.

      • dbug says: April 17, 2014

        The big question now is who is the next starter. I hope it is Nelson. I think Thornburg is going to be best as a relief pitcher.

    • dbug says: April 17, 2014

      Gilbert Lara is the 3B. He can’t officially sign until early July. As far as 2015, Yo’s option is for 13M. That’s pretty steep if he doesn’t return to near-ace this year. If the Brewers aren’t in it down the stretch, it might make some sense to see about moving Yo or Lohse, both would be going into a final year and the team has quite a few young-ish starting pitchers that need to get a chance.

      • Klim says: April 17, 2014

        If Yo returns to his former self and hypothetically continues what he has been doing to start the year, $13M seems like a bargain for a 1 year deal. All of the big upside with none of the effects that come with busted long term deals.

      • Curt Hogg says: April 17, 2014

        Even if Yo pitches at an All-Star level, it wouldn’t surprise me to see the Brewers decline his option. That’s paying a lot for a guy with declining velocity, K rates, and relying much more heavily on getting ground outs despite him not being a ground ball pitcher.

        • Mass_Haas says: April 17, 2014

          If he maintains well through 2013, the Crew picks up the option because Yo would be very attractive to other teams on a reasonable one-year deal, and they could trade him during the Hot Stove season. No way they decline unless he’s injured or falters badly.

  2. Eric says: April 17, 2014

    The fact that Marco Estrada has never pitched more than 138innings in mlb means we could see Jimmy replace him in the rotation

    • todd harrigan says: April 20, 2014

      Or it could mean his arm is fresh and could go to 190-200 innings.


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