The Milwaukee Brewers avoided arbitration with Jimmy Nelson on Wednesday and signed him to a 3.7 million dollar deal. Nelson will get an additional $50,000 if he wins the National League Comeback Player of the Year Award. It keeps him in Milwaukee for another season. He will be eligible for arbitration again in 2020 and then becomes a UFA in 2021.
Nelson has been making consistent strides in his rehab since getting injured sliding into first base in 2017 (pictured below). A freak occurrence on the base paths led to a partially torn labrum and a strained rotator cuff in his throwing arm (R). He was rumored to be ready to go last season but The Brewers erred on the side of caution. Barring any set backs, he will be full strength on opening day.
The $50,000 incentive stirs the notion Nelson can regain ace form. If we look at the data, it is easy to see why David Stearns would put money on it.
A look at his last three seasons:
– Nelson’s variability in velocity narrows as the seasons progress. It seems he is learning how to pace himself over a major league season; “dial-in” so to speak.
– Fielding-Independent Pitching (FIP) continued to trend down in 2017 even though his Earned Run Average (ERA) spiked in October. The overall trend is remarkable and easier to see in table form:
Nelson was looking like everything he was originally billed to be when taken in the second round of the 2010 draft. If he can hit the ground running, it could be the easiest 50,000 dollars he’s ever made. That makes every Brewers fan feel a little bit richer…