Make no mistake about it. Jimmy Nelson is a starting pitcher. However, if the 24-year-old wants to make his Major League Baseball debut with the Milwaukee Brewers in the final month of the 2013 season, he will have to do it as a relief pitcher.
“It’s just an adjustment,” Nelson said, according to Brewers.com. “I threw out of the bullpen a few times [at the University of Alabama] and I did it in the Fall League this last fall, so I’ve gotten a little taste of it. It’s just an adjustment, a change in the mentality from starting to bullpen.”
Since 2011, Nelson has started 75 of the 76 games he has appeared in. The fact that he has done such a tremendous job as a starter is a big reason why the Brewers never took him out of the role. The organization acquired him to be a starter, and there is a good chance one day he will be a member of the starting rotation in the majors.
Nelson’s 5-6 record and 3.67 earned run average in 15 starts in Triple-A this season is reason enough for Milwaukee to call him up for the last month of the season. He was going to be placed on the 40-man roster after September anyways so the organization figured it made sense to give him a taste of the big leagues this year. However, with six starters already being used manager Ron Roenicke decided that the only way Nelson would see the light of day is out of the bullpen.
“We already have six [starters],” Roenicke told Brewers.com. “There’s just too many guys. With [Tyler] Thornburg, because he’s pitched so well, we feel we need to see him in a starting role, and it’s already a mess going to six guys. It’s just a matter of, you’re wanting to see guys, but you also want to give the guys you’re looking at the opportunity to pitch well.”
Nelson does not care how the Brewers use him. The only thing that matters to him is the fact that he gets a shot to show what he can do at the top level. Nelson has a great opportunity to give Milwaukee plenty to think about in the offseason. If he pitches well enough there is a good chance he could see himself on the active roster next year.