Tag Archives: Jimmy Nelson

If I were manager: Picking the Brewers starting rotation

Let’s play a game. You like games, right? Good, because we’re going to pretend I’m the manager of the Milwaukee Brewers, and I get to pick the starting rotation. Game on.

The Milwaukee Brewers starting rotation posted a combined 4.40 ERA and 8.5 WAR in 2016, ranking 17th and 20th, respectively. A good portion of the rotation’s WAR came from Zach Davies (2.8) and Junior Guerra (2.5), but overall it was just slightly below league average, despite you probably thinking otherwise. With no big-name free agent starters added to the pool, Milwaukee’s pitching staff doesn’t figure to be too much better in 2017, especially if the team rolls out the same lot it did a year ago. But is that really going to happen?

The Brewers have arguably seven pitchers who could start. Only four of them probably should, but manager Craig Counsell needs five. And so do I since I’m taking over as manager for this post. Here are the seven candidates according to Milwaukee’s depth chart:

  1. Junior Guerra
  2. Zach Davies
  3. Jimmy Nelson
  4. Wily Peralta
  5. Chase Anderson
  6. Matt Garza
  7. Tommy Milone

Guerra and Davies are my top two pitchers and are definite locks to make the rotation. RW23 believes Guerra and Davies will see some regression this upcoming season, but not nearly enough to cause alarm. They should still be the best pitchers on the Brewers.

Notice how Garza isn’t listed among the top five. Given how much the Brewers are paying him, that’s a rather big surprise, but his stats back it up. Garza continued to prove he was one of the worst free agent signings in history by accumulating a 4.51 ERA and 4.33 FIP last year, bringing his Brewers total to 4.59 ERA/4.27 FIP across the last three seasons. He’s no longer a viable starting pitcher, and odds are he’ll only be worse this season. As manager, he will not be a part of my rotation. I’m going to stick him in the bullpen where he’ll hopefully eat up some innings as a long reliever. I’d cut him, but he’s owed $12.5 million in 2017, and that’s a lot of money to pay someone to not be on the team.

Like Garza, Wily Peralta and Jimmy Nelson also struggled mightily. Peralta so much so that he was sent down to the minors to try and get right. Nelson, instead of taking another step forward, fell back and posted the highest FIP (5.12) of his career. Still, there’s upside remaining with both of them, more so with Nelson’s side, though. Walks really hurt him last year, along with the home run ball, and If he gets those things figured out, we should see some improvement. As for Peralta, well, I think we know what we’re going to get from him. He’s at best a No. 4 pitcher, and that’s being generous. He needs another chance to return to his 2014 form, though, so I’m going to give him one. Peralta and Nelson, welcome to my rotation.

Four spots are filled with one to go. Anderson and Milone are the final contestants, and neither of them are exactly endearing. Anderson has become increasingly more defective as his career rolls on, and even though he’s just 29, there’s literally no upside. Milone, on the other hand, has been serviceable but has never been considered a good pitcher. He’ll be 30 on Feb. 16 and owns a career 4.12 ERA in 673.1 innings as a starter. And although that ERA would be useful on many ball clubs, he’s never really been able to stick to a team. He started for the Athletics for parts of three seasons and was then shipped to the Twins in 2014 for another two and a half years. In 12 starts a year ago, he was blasted by everyone, as his 5.71 and 5.54 FIP clearly stated. And yet…

I’m going with Tommy Milone to round out my rotation. He’s been a better pitcher throughout his career than Anderson, and it’d be useful to have a southpaw in the mix. Milone has been underrated throughout his career, and I’d like to see what he can bring.

So here it is, my 2017 starting rotation for the Milwaukee Brewers:

  1. Junior Guerra
  2. Zach Davies
  3. Jimmy Nelson
  4. Tommy Milone
  5. Wily Peralta

Milone’s in at No. 4 just to break up the string of right-handed pitchers, but I also wouldn’t be surprised if he outperformed Peralta. Regardless, that’s a rather uninspiring group, and it honestly might develop into the worst rotation in MLB if it stays that way.

Help is on the way, however, as Josh Hader should be just a few months away from breaking the rotation. I don’t believe he’ll make the roster right out of spring training, but if he does, he should absolutely be in the rotation. I’m not buying him as a reliever. He’s more than that. Taylor Jungmann isn’t on here either, solely because I don’t think the Brewers have any faith in him. They have Milone on their depth chart over him, for crying out loud.

Until the Brewers are ready to compete, they must adapt to an iffy starting rotation, as underwhelming as it may be. It’s forecasted to be another long season in Milwaukee.

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Quick take: Jimmy Nelson is in trouble

By ERA, Jimmy Nelson is the best starting pitcher on the Milwaukee Brewers. By almost every other metric, Jimmy Nelson is in trouble. Let’s quickly examine, shall we.

As of the second I’m writing this, as Nelson is pitching in the sixth inning against the Mets, he has a 3.43 ERA in 13 outings, which is 70-some points lower than his 2015 ERA. Now, Brian Anderson and Bill Schroeder would have you believe that he’s pitching like an All-Star, but in the world of reality, that really couldn’t be farther from the truth. Nelson ranks 85th of 98 qualified starting pitchers in FIP with a mark of 4.88. To put it delicately…well I can’t. That sucks. His ERA minus FIP is -1.48, meaning he’s drastically and unbelievably out-pitching himself so far. He’s also started a disturbing trend.

nelson

Nelson’s strikeouts are down a touch from last year, and he’s walking batters at a career-high 9.9% clip. My projections had him giving up 20 home runs this season, but he’s past halfway there as he allowed No. 12 tonight.

His ERA ranks him as a top pitcher in baseball, but his peripherals, the stats that matter more, tell us he’s in trouble and it tells us we should should expect an ERA regression soon.

Prince Fielder traded back to the Brewers

In a strange and rather wild move, the Milwaukee Brewers have acquired Prince Fielder from the Texas Rangers in exchange for Jimmy Nelson, Matt Garza and Tyrone Taylor. Fielder returns to the organization that drafted him and for which he played from 2005 to 2011.

Nelson was slated to be Milwaukee’s No. 2 starter in 2016 with Garza slated right behind him, but General Manager David Stearns says Zach Davies and Michael Blazek will get the first crack at the rotation spots. Taylor, once considered one of the organization’s top outfield prospects, is also headed to Texas.

Fielder hit 23 home runs and was worth 1.6 WAR for the Rangers last season.

This move comes as quite a shock for a Brewers team in the midst of a major rebuild. Some in the baseball industry have been quoted as saying the trade is “ludicrous” and “simply outrageous.” An anonymous GM claimed that it makes “zero sense for either team.”

Stearns, however, is very excited to bring back “one of the best Brewers of all time.”

“Prince is a decorated veteran of this league, and a hero in Milwaukee,” Stearns said. “We are thrilled to be reunited with him.”

Stearns also isn’t listening to the criticism surrounding the move.

“People can say whatever they want,” Stearns said. “But the fact of the matter is, we didn’t trade for Prince because of his offensive skill. No. We got him because he will be a huge help to the young players we have on our club. He’ll be more of a mentor than anything.”

Incumbent first baseman Chris Carter will be moved to center field, according to manager Craig Counsell, despite having zero experience in the outfield. This most likely means Keon Broxton and Kirk Nieuwenhuis will not make the team.

When told about the trade, Fielder didn’t mince his words.

“This is [expletive] unbelievable,” Fielder said. “Can Milwaukee even afford me? Have they seen my contract? [Expletive] this. I don’t want to go back. Not after the way they treated me and Rickie [Weeks] during our last years there. [Expletive] this.”

Fielder’s agent, Scott Boras, declined to comment, but a source inside the Commissioner’s Office says he is actively trying to get Rob Manfred to negate the trade.

Reports out of Milwaukee are claiming that Brewers’ Owner Mark Attanasio didn’t sign off on re-acquiring Fielder. Some are even saying that he is irate with Stearns, and that termination is “definitely on the table.”

It was already going to be a lousy season in Milwaukee, but this trade takes it to even greater depths.

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Happy April Fool’s Day, everyone. Ruin someone’s day by sharing this.