Could this finally be it? After years of stops and starts could Milwaukee Brewers hurler Jimmy Nelson finally be making good on the promise that had me and many in the fantasy baseball community highly intrigued going back to 2014? After he struck out 11 in 8 shutout innings Friday night, it certainly is beginning to look that way. For those who are new to the site, Jimmy Nelson has been a big source of frustration for yours truly in that he has been a regular on my fantasy baseball sleeper lists but through injuries and some terrible control, the results have not panned out. 2016 was a true horror show as well as Nelson pitched to a 4.62 ERA and in the process, seemed to remove himself for for consideration of any meaningful role in 2017 fantasy baseball. Ah but I persisted one more spring in thinking it was a now-or-never year for Nelson who was still just 27 and who also still possessed the fastball that elicited a high amount of K's coming up the minor league ladder.
Fast forward to present day and Nelson has been every bit the strikeout machine this season; with Friday night's 11 K's following a 10-K outing (and two 8-K specials) in his previous four starts. For the season now, Nelson has a potent 9.09 K/9 which would be a career-high and his 3.36 ERA and 1.26 WHIP look mighty fine as well, So now we need to digest whether or not what Nelson is doing right now is fully on par or whether he is just flashing again before more disappointment shows up. The first thing that stands out here however is Nelson's .330 BABIP which for a pitcher is quite unlucky, When adjusted Nelsons FIP ERA drops to 3.03 which looks even nicer. On top of this, Nelson has made HUGE strides in his control; with his 2.24 BB/9 serving as a massive dip from the 3.30 and 4.32 marks the previous two years. Finally, Nelson's 0.84 HR/9 is also a nice improvement from the high 1.25 HR/9 mark he had a year ago and this is crucial since he operates in a home ballpark that yields a bunch of home runs. Put it all together and Jimmy Nelson's breakout so far is perfectly legitimate.
So in terms of the rest of the season, keep starting Nelson every time out given how well he is throwing right now. He really has it working on all cylinders and is finally making good on all the potential I once saw in him.