Earlier today, the Brewers placed starter Jhoulys Chacin on the IL with a back injury, opening up two spots in the rotation. The Brewers filled the spots for now with bullpen arms, but we now know who will fill those two spots.
The first starter is the big piece of news here: Jimmy Nelson will make his first start in the majors since 2017 on Wednesday:
The Brewers will call up Jimmy Nelson to start Wednesday against the Marlins at Miller Park. His long road back from shoulder surgery is almost over.— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) June 2, 2019
Nelson has been working hard to make it back to the rotation since he injured his shoulder on a slide in September of 2017, and needed surgery to repair it. He missed all of 2018 with the shoulder injury, and also the start of this season as he continued to build up strength. While he did appear in a few games in spring training, he started the year on the IL and then worked through a minor-league rehab assignment before getting optioned to the minors following the conclusion of it. In the minors, over five appearances, he’s posted a 3.75 ERA and 4.71 FIP. His strikeout rate has been strong at 10.88 K/9, but his walk rate has also been a bit high (4.50 BB/9). However, the Brewers likely couldn’t pick a better place for Nelson to return. He’ll be pitching at home to a fired-up crowd, and will be facing the Marlins, who currently are at the bottom of the National League. A potential second start wouldn’t be as nice (would be lined up to face the Astros), but he will need to be challenged as he makes his return to the team.
Meanwhile, the Brewers also announced their likely plans for that other rotation spot they need to fill. Freddy Peralta is the likely starter for that spot.
Counsell said he'll need another starter later in the week with both Chacin and Gonzalez on IL and that it likely will be Freddy Peralta.— Tom (@Haudricourt) June 2, 2019
Peralta’s results have been mixed so far this year. As a starter, he has struggled a bit, posting a 5.76 FIP and 7.36 ERA. However, as a reliever, the results have been better, with a 2.82 FIP and 2.19 ERA. His strikeout rate has been consistent between starting and relieving (10.52 to 9.49 K/9), but his walk numbers have been better as a reliever (3.51 to 2.19 BB/9). He’s also lowered the number of home runs he has allowed as a reliever, allowing just one in 12.1 relief innings compared to seven in 25.2 starter innings. There was no indication on when he would make that start, and the Brewers rotation for their next four games is all still listed as TBD.
With the rotation plans in place following the injuries to Gonzalez and Chacin, there’s a lot of excitement coming up. Many fans are looking forward to Nelson’s return, and Wednesday’s game will be a big moment for Nelson. In fact, his return will come on a special day:
I'm sure this is just a coincidence but Jimmy Nelson's return to big leagues with #Brewers will come on his 30th birthday Wednesday. He couldn't have asked for a better present.— Tom (@Haudricourt) June 2, 2019
He definitely deserves it after all of the work he’s put in to get back to this point.
Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs.