BLUF: Lower ceiling, durable right-hander that should eat innings with solid stuff.
The Player: Jimmy Nelson (RHP, Milwaukee Brewers) – Drafted out of Alabama by the Brewers in the first round in 2010. Notched a 3.71 ERA in 26.2 innings of rookie-ball experience that season. Made 25 starts and one relief appearance for Low-A Wisconsin in 2011 with a 4.38 ERA and nearly a 2:1 strikeout to walk ratio. Started the 2012 season with a 2.21 ERA in 13 High-A starts, striking out nearly a batter per inning over 81.1 innings. Promoted to Double-A and has posted a 4.62 ERA in 39 innings with 35 walks and 37 strikeouts.
Basis of Report: Compilation – Personal Observation (Midwest League 2011), Industry Contacts
Body (6-6, 250): Big, thick body that’s built to eat innings. Needs to focus on conditioning and has improved since turning pro. Workhorse build that will never be pretty.
Delivery/Mechanics: There appears to be lots of moving parts in his delivery, few of which are rarely in sync. Struggles to repeat delivery and can often times have his arm lagging behind. Showed some improvement his year but still has work to do. Will never be pretty, but could be repeated enough to be serviceable.
Fastball (FB) Velocity (Wind-up): High – 98, Low – 90, Average 92-94, Grade – 60/60
Fastball (FB) Velocity (Stretch): High – 96, Low 90, Average 91-92, Grade – 50/60
Fastball (FB) Movement: Nothing special. Will show occasional sink when on top of the ball and when using leverage to the plate. Enough movement to stay off the barrel of the bat. Grade – 50/50
Overall Fastball: Has ability to blow it by hitters, but can’t rely on that. Lacks movement at times. Velocity fluctuates wildly during starts, all hinging on mechanics. Loses some zip in stretch but has some projection to show plus FB with runners on. Overall plus pitch long term with good leverage and good velocity. Grade – 50/60
Slider (SL): Nice pitch. Has two-plane break that shows good bite down in the zone and some horizontal movement as well. Can overthrow and flatten it out at times but improved this year in staying on top and snapping it off. Quality second pitch with plus potential after gaining more consistency. Not a true swing-and-miss pitch but a good ground ball inducing offering. Grade – 50/60
Change-up (CH): Lacks feel. Poor pitch. Tips it with slower arm speed. Lacks movement even when he lets it go. More of straight change that doesn’t always have good velo separation. Well below-average and lacks significant projection. Grade – 30/40
Control: Throwing far more strikes this year. Working in and around the zone a lot more with more consistent delivery. Has ability to be a guy that pounds lower third of zone and works low with ease. Grade – 40/60
Command: Command has not been part of game. Delivery is hit or miss. Difficult to project command profile with lack of athleticism and after watching delivery. May have below-average command long term, but enough to get outs. Grade – 30/40
Summation: Big, intimidating guy. Looks the part of a workhorse starter. Two potential plus pitches that can miss enough bats and induce ground balls. Has to gain consistency with delivery. CH doesn’t project to gain much ground. Will throw strikes but won’t locate consistently long term. Mixes pitches well and doesn’t get rattled easily. Nice arm. Durable body. Inning-eater type. Potential number four starter with peak seasons in number three territory.
Relative Risk: Moderate. Should have a big league future with control/command profile dictating his role.
Future: Could use a full year of experience at the upper levels, including more time at Double-A to start the 2013 season. Could be on the big league radar in 2014 and should eat innings without being spectacular for several years.