The Dodgers may have found a hidden gem in Jimmy Nelson. While his career ERA of 4.22 doesn’t instill much fear in itself, he was asked to carry a large load during his time with the Brewers, which won’t be necessary here in LA.
After spending the 2020 season recovering from lumbar surgery, Nelson has come into spring training with plenty of rest and with a chance to possibly make his return to the majors for the first time since 2019. With Jimmy looking better than expected, the question has quickly changed from if he’ll make the roster to whether he should be a starter or a reliever.
In an interview following Friday afternoon’s game in which Nelson made an appearance, Dave Roberts made it clear that the club doesn’t view the starting rotation as his only ticket to the 26-man roster.
I see him going three innings his next time, so that’s one thing. The build up will continue. And he does not need to be a starter to make our club.
Even with the two hits that he gave up in his two innings of work on Friday, Nelson is still holding hitters to a .160 batting average over 7 innings during the spring. To say that he has been good would be an understatement, seeing as he has a case for the biggest surprise of training camp.
Jimmy Nelson is making the starting rotation dilemma even more interesting, especially after the news that David Price would be open to coming out of the pen if the Dodgers wanted to get the young guns some more innings. But while he may have an outside shot at a starting spot, his value in the pen seems to be the easiest path to a roster position, especially with a few relievers already question marks for the start of the season.