Jimmy Nelson

Jimmy Nelson injury impact

Background

Jimmy Nelson

(Photo by Reviewing the Brew)

Jimmy Nelson was the Milwaukee Brewers’ second round selection in 2010. After spending five seasons in the minors, Nelson earned a spot in the rotation in 2014. His minor league success did not translate as smoothly as the Brew Crew had hoped, as Nelson started 14 games, winning only two, while sporting a 4.93 ERA and 1.46 WHIP.

Nelson was solid in his first full season with Milwaukee, posting an 11-13 record with a 4.11 ERA. His WAR of 2.0 placed him within the top 60 pitchers of 2015, showing that at 26 years old he was an above average arm at the time.

Nelson regressed in 2016, winning only eight games, while posting a 4.62 ERA and 4.91 xFIP, or expected fielding independent pitching, which according to fangraphs.com “is a statistic that estimates a pitcher’s expected run prevention independent of the performance of their defense”.

His 4.19 xFIP is considered awful on fangraphs.com’s rating scale. His WAR of 0.7 shows that he was barely better than a replacement level player that season.

2017 Resurgence

Jimmy Nelson

In only 175.1 innings, Jimmy Nelson fell one strikeout short of 200. (Photo by The News and Observer)

Nelson has quietly been incredible this season. His WAR of 4.9 ranks fourth in the MLB, only behind Chris Sale, Corey Kluber and Max Scherzer, showing how serious of an impact Nelson was making in Milwaukee. Also, his 3.49 ERA, 10.21 K/9 and 3.14 xFIP place Nelson statistically within the top-10 in each category in the MLB.

In only 175.1 innings, Nelson fell one strikeout short of 200, which was a huge improvement from his former career high of 148, which were thrown in 177.1 innings in 2015.

One major adjustment Nelson has made from season-to-season has been the usage rate of his curveball. In his respectable 2015 campaign, Nelson threw his curveball 21 percent of the time, although in his poor 2016 season, he only used it at a 12 percent clip.

Now in 2017, Nelson is once again is using his curveball 20 percent of the time, which has been key to his success. According to fangraphs.com, his curveball is currently valued at 9.2, where zero represents average value, positive are considered above average and negative are below.

To put this in better perspective, Clayton Kershaw’s curveball has been valued at a total of 63.8 over the course of his career and is currently valued at 6.4.

Nelson is being slept on because of his unproven track record and lack of exposure due to playing in Milwaukee, although statistically he clearly is performing up to par with the elite. If the season was to end today, it is safe to say that Nelson would have been a top-5 NL Cy young candidate.

Impact of the injury

Jimmy Nelson

Jimmy Nelson will miss the remainder of the season after suffering a partially torn labrum and a strained rotator cuff after sliding head-first back into first base. (Photo by Brew Crew Ball)

The 28-year-old will miss the remainder of the season after suffering a partially torn labrum and a strained rotator cuff after sliding head-first back into first base. According to Matt Carlson of The Washington Post, general manager David Stearns said that “he does not know if surgery is needed.”

Boston Red Sox pitcher Steven Wright suffered a similar injury while pinch running at the end of the 2016 season, jamming his shoulder while sliding back into second base. Wright also missed the remainder of his breakout season, although the injury seems to have had a serious impact on his pitching ability moving forward.

In his 24 innings since returning, he has allowed 24 runs on 40 hits. Obviously with Wright being a knuckle baller, the situation is very different, although it seems fair to say that the future is uncertain for Nelson after sustaining this type of injury.

The Brewers, who are sneakily only four games back of the Chicago Cubs in the NL Central and three games back of the Colorado Rockies in the wild card race, are going to seriously feel Nelson’s absence because of how successful he has been, although the rest of the rotation is nothing to scoff at.

The Brewers rank 10th in the MLB in team ERA and 12th in strikeouts and batting average against. Zach Davies is currently leading the team in wins with 16, while Chase Anderson is leading in ERA with 3.06. 27-year-old rookie Brent Suter has emerged seemingly out of nowhere, posting a 3.55 ERA 51 strikeouts in 63.1 innings.

Veterans Matt Garza and Junior Guerra have struggled, both posting ERAs over five, although they have been able to eat innings, pitching a combined 174.2. It is clear that Nelson was not the only quality arm in Milwaukee, although he was their unquestioned ace and will be missed. The anticipated replacement options for Nelson include prospects Brandon Woodruff and Josh Hader.

Woodruff was an 11th round pick in 2014, and has had two very successful seasons at the high-A and double-A levels. He has made four major league starts in 2017, posting a 1-1 record with 1.52 ERA and 7.61 K/9. According to MLB.com, Woodruff ranks 84th among all MLB prospects this season and looks to be the most ready and reliable option for the Brew Crew to go with.

Hader was a 19th round selection, although he has been widely recognized as one of baseball’s top prospects, as in 2016, Hader was ranked 34th on MLB.com’s prospect watch list after posting a 30-31 record with a 3.11 ERA and 10.3 K/9 in 593.1 innings in the minors. In 2017, Hader was called-up to assume a bullpen role, where he has made 28 appearances with zero being starts. He has been successful so far in the majors, so it seems like the Brewers won’t rush Hader into a starter spot even with their current situation.

Featured image by MLB.com

 

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Fantasy Baseball 2017

Fantasy Baseball 2017: Minor League Update

The most interesting fantasy baseball formats are keeper and dynasty leagues, as they allow owners to carry a number of players over into the next season, which adds an entire new aspect to fantasy. Keeper and dynasty formats are much more engrossing for the owner.

As weird as this may sound, bonds are created between an owner and their players that are carried from roster to roster over the years.

Also, these formats increase the value of prospects, as an owner may decide to stash a minor-league player in hopes that they receive a call-up to the majors later in the year.

In 2016, players like Trea Turner, Tyler Naquin and Edwin Diaz all began the season in the minor-leagues, but managed to make a serious impact at the big-league level. In Trea Turner’s case, after playing in only 73 games and recording 13 home runs, 33 steals, with a .342 batting average, he became a top 20 overall pick for the following year.

Drafting or adding impact prospects can be the difference between having a good or great team moving forward from season to season

 

This update intends to inform owners about ten minor-league prospects in line to make a lasting impact on Major League Baseball in the near future. Adjacent to the player’s name will be their major-league team, position, and prospect ranking according to MLB.com.

 

Yoan Moncada, Chicago White Sox, Second base/Third base, (1)

Fantasy Baseball 2017

Yoan Moncada is the top prospect in baseball according to MLB.com (Courtesy of MLB.com)

  • Position battles: Todd Frazier and Tyler Saladino
  • MLB ETA: 2017

 

Moncada is the number one prospect in baseball according to MLB.com. He is currently batting .292 with three home runs and two stolen bases in eight games at the AAA level. The 21-year-old Cuban has shown the potential to be a transcendent player, as he amassed 15 home runs and 45 steals in only 106 minor-league games in 2016. Moncada will presumably be called-up some time soon after May 15th in order to keep his service time down.  He will be a highly sought after commodity once called up, so pick him up before it’s too late.

 

Gleyber Torres, New York Yankees, Second base/Short stop/Third base, (2)

 

  • Position battles: Chase Headley, Didi Gregorius, Starlin Castro and Ronald Torreyes
  • MLB ETA: 2018

 

Some people believed Torres would begin the season in the big-leagues, as the Yankees starting short stop, Didi Gregorius, was on the disabled list to start the year; although, Torreyes and Castro were awarded the starting jobs.

Torres was sent down to the AA-level, where he is batting a mere .237 with zero home runs and only three extra base hits in ten games. Torres was recently placed on the 7-day DL as he is suffering from right rotator cuff tendinitis, which was probably the cause of the 20-year-old’s early struggles in 2017. A call-up for Torres won’t likely come until 2018, as he will not see a promotion until he performs at the minor-league level, learns to field at all three positions, and finds an opening in the Yankees lineup.

 

Austin Meadows, Pittsburgh Pirates, Outfield, (7)

Fantasy Baseball 2017

Austin Meadows is struggling in 2017, although management is not worried. (Courtesy of Rotoprofessor)

  • Position battles: Andrew McCutchen, Gregory Polanco, Starling Marte, and Adam Frazier
  • MLB ETA: 2018

 

The top 10 prospect according to MLB.com has gotten off to an ice-cold start in 2017. He is currently batting .156 in 12 games at the AAA-level.

Many expected Meadows to take over in center field for the recently suspended Starling Marte, although Pirates GM states that “He’s not ready right now, but we’re thrilled by where he can go.” This shows the 2017 may not be the year for Meadows, although they are confident that the career .295 hitter will turn things around quickly.

 

Cody Bellinger, Los Angeles Dodgers, First base/Outfield, (10)

 

  • Position battles: Adrian Gonzalez, Scott Van Slyke, and Andrew Toles
  • MLB ETA: 2017

 

The number one prospect in the Dodgers system is continuing to impress. Bellinger is batting .360 with five home runs and 14 RBI in 13 games at the AAA-level. He has mashed a total of 65 home runs and 252 RBI in 356 games.

The 21-year-old is able to play first base, as well as all three outfield positions, which heavily increases his value. If Bellinger continues at this torrid pace, or if an injury were to occur to Gonzalez, Bellinger could see a call up to big leagues this season.

 

Rafael Devers, Boston Red Sox, Third base, (15)

Fantasy Baseball 2017

Rafael Devers is on fire, but a call-up may not come any time soon. (Courtesy of Masslive.com)

  • Position battles: Pablo Sandoval, Marco Hernandez, and Brock Holt
  • MLB ETA: 2019

 

Devers is on fire to start 2017, slashing .375/.390/.550 at the AA-level. The third baseman has continuously found success at all minor-league levels, batting a career .295 with 204 RBI over 323 games. The 20-year-old has a career high of 11 home runs in a season, but this is sure to improve as he grows into his body and increases his strength.

The Red Sox won’t be looking to rush Devers to the big leagues, as they seem content with Sandoval manning the hot corner for the near future. If a slew of injuries were to occur, which is very possible, Devers could find his way to the majors late in the year.

 

Lewis Brinson, Milwaukee Brewers, Outfielder, (16)

 

  • Position battles: Keon Broxton, Domingo Santana, and Kirk Nieuwenhuis
  • MLB ETA: 2017

 

Brinson is off to a red hot start at the AAA level, slashing .355/.412/.645 in 34 plate appearances in 2017. He is clearly ready for the Major-League level as he has a career batting average of .281, with 81 home runs and 91 steals through six minor-league seasons. The only caveat to the 22-year-old’s game is his poor strikeout rate, as he strikes out over 20% of the time. Brinson is a serious 20/20 threat, although he likely won’t see a call up this season unless there is an injury to a Brewer’s outfielder.

 

Bradley Zimmer, Cleveland Indians, Outfielder, (20)

Fantasy Baseball 2017

Bradley Zimmer has a packed road ahead, as the Indians have committed to Austin Jackson and Brandon Guyer in 2017. (Courtesy of Wahoo’s on First)

  • Position battles: Austin Jackson, Brandon Guyer, Lonnie Chisenhall, Abraham Almonte, and Tyler Naquin
  • MLB ETA: 2018

 

The top-20 prospect in baseball has a very crowded road ahead. The Indians have decided to run a platoon in center and right field this season, which presumably was going to give Zimmer or Naquin every day at bats at the major-league level, although this was not the case. Both Zimmer and Naquin have been assigned to the minors, while veterans Jackson and Guyer have earned playing time with the Indians.

Zimmer is a five-tool prospect with plenty of promise. In 2015, he batted .273 with 16 home runs and 44 stolen bases in 127 games. The 24-year-old followed by having a season with a .250 batting average, 15 home runs, and 38 stolen bases in 130 games. Zimmer clearly has the talent and consistency to be an above average fantasy producer, although the call may not come until injuries deplete Cleveland’s outfield.

 

Brent Honeywell, Tampa Bay Rays, Starting Pitcher, (28)

 

  • Position battles: Erasmo Ramirez, Matt Andriese, Blake Snell, and Jose De Leon
  • MLB ETA: 2017

 

Honeywell has a career 2.59 ERA and .992 WHIP over 298 1/3 innings in the minors. This outlandish line has continued in 2017, as he currently has a 2.08 ERA, .615 WHIP, and 20 strikeouts in 13 innings pitched.

The 22-year-old was just called up to AAA, and should see a call to the majors very shortly after the Super Two cutoff, as the Rays currently have placed Jake Odorizzi on the 10-day DL. If another pitcher were to go down, Honeywell could very well get the call sooner than many expect.

 

Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Toronto Blue Jays, Third base, (31)

Fantasy Baseball 2017

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. may be baseball’s most talented 18-year-old. (Courtesy of MLB.com)

  • Position Battles: Josh Donaldson and Darwin Barney
  • MLB ETA: 2019

 

The son of future Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerrero, Guerrero Jr., is one of the most talented teenagers in professional baseball. The 18-year-old is batting .295 at the A-level with two home runs and six RBI in 13 games. Guerrero Jr. has shown incredible ability to get on base, on top of his already established power and speed.

The top 50 prospect managed to hit eight home runs to go along with 15 steals in 62 games of rookie ball, showing that he has the potential to be a 20/20 player moving forward. The Blue Jays have no rush to move the teen to the majors, even with their MVP third baseman injured. Although, Guerrero Jr. should be in the big-leagues sooner than later, just not in 2017.

 

Josh Hader, Milwaukee Brewers, Starting Pitcher, (35)

 

  • Position battles: Matt Garza, Wily Peralta, and Chase Anderson
  • MLB ETA: 2017

 

The lanky lefty remains one of the most electric starters in the minors, as he has a career strikeouts per nine innings of 10.2, which is well above average. The 23-year-old has a career 3.02 ERA and 1.19 WHIP in 503 innings pitched. He is currently pitching for Milwaukee’s AAA affiliate, and has a 2-1 record with a 2.57 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, and 11 strikeouts in 14 innings pitched.

Hader has struggled with walks over his first three starts, although he has remained effective, allowing only four runs in three starts. If he continues to find success at the minor-league level, he is sure to get the call in 2017.

 

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