Results tagged ‘ Jimmy Nelson ’

Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’15 – #52 Jimmy Nelson

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The last 36 hours of my personal life have been crazy. While that doesn’t affect you, it does mean that I need to cut this profile short to get it posted.

Wearing #52 for the foreseeable future is…

Jimmy Nelson.

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After making his big league debut as a September call-up in 2013, James Jacob Nelson would find himself on the outside looking in when camp broke in 2014. He would instead start the year at Class-AAA Nashville, quickly establishing himself as the staff ace. Nelson would end up pitching in 17 games for Nashville in 2014, compiling a 1.46 ERA across 111.0 innings pitched. That’s just 18 earned runs allowed. His batting average against for Nashville was a miniscule .179 with a 0.92 WHIP and 114 strikeouts. In 431 batters faced as a Sounds pitcher, Nelson allowed just three home runs.

Great strikeouts per nine (9.2), good walk rate (2.6), heavy ground ball tendency (57.3%) and skinny line drive rate (12.5%)? Yes please.

When the trade deadline was approaching and Milwaukee holding a lead of a couple of games in the National League Central, there were many questions surrounding Nelson. Would he be offered in trade to secure a starting pitcher? Would he come up to bolster Milwaukee’s rotation or bullpen? Was he ready for the big leagues despite clearly having nothing left to prove in the minors?

To that point in the season, Nelson had made four starts. He had a spot start in May against the Miami Marlins which he pitched worse than his numbers show but still ended up with a scoreless outing and a win. He then joined the rotation when Marco Estrada was demoted to the bullpen just before the All-Star break. He was hammered by St. Louis in that first July start but showed better after that putting up “quality starts” (defined as at least 6.0 innings pitch with three or fewer runs allowed) in his next five turns. In fact, he dropped his ERA from 5.40 to 3.86 over those five outings, three of which the Brewers won.

In August, both Kyle Lohse and Matt Garza would lose time to injuries and Nelson found himself smack dab in the middle of the divisional race and responded well enough for a rookie. Nelson would be sent to the bullpen following a start on September 7 against the Cardinals. He fared better than back on July 12, but still wasn’t pitching to the level the Brewers needed him to be. When the rotation was at “full strength” following the injury bug, it was Mike Fiers and not Nelson who remained as the fifth guy.

Nelson made two appearances out of the bullpen before making one final start on September 26, once it was clear that the Brewers were sunk.

Nelson’s trial by fire season was complete. All told, it was a 4.93 ERA in 69.1 innings across 12 starts and 14 games pitched for the rookie right-hander out of the University of Alabama. His inexperience was evident at times and, by his own admission, he got away from his pitch sequencing and selection that worked so well for him in the minors. He was primarily, overwhelmingly a two-pitch pitcher in his 2014 Brewers campaign. He knows he needs to feature his change up more, and reports are that he’s working on another pitch as well to really give him more weapons on the mound. His slider can be and was a wipeout offering at times with Milwaukee in 2014, but the consistency needs to come around on it.

A 2nd round pick in 2010, Nelson was often overlooked by prospect mavens but consistently improved year after year in the minors, eventually assuming the mantle of “top pitching prospect” after Wily Peralta graduated. After Dylan Covey decided not to sign with the Brewers from the first round of Nelson’s year, and 2011 co-first-rounders Taylor Jungmann and Jed Bradley both lagging behind their projections to this point, Nelson emerging as a dependable rotation option would be a nice win for Milwaukee’s scouting and development staffs. Granted, you probably expect a second-rounder to be there anyway, which keeps Nelson from being some unearthed gem, but a win is a win and getting any homegrown starting pitchers to the majors is a good thing.

Nelson has reached the top level. Staying there is up to him.

Follow Jimmy on Twitter: @Jimmy_J_Nelson

Catch up on the countdown!

Brewers On Deck 2015 – The Interviews

Here is a boatload of audio recorded on Sunday, January 25, 2015 at Brewers On Deck in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Enjoy!!

Right fielder Ryan Braun

Relief pitcher Jim Henderson

Manager Ron Roenicke

New Brewers first baseman Adam Lind

Starting pitcher Wily Peralta

Newest member of the starting rotation Jimmy Nelson

All-Star outfielder Carlos Gomez

Second baseman Scooter Gennett

All-Star starting catcher Jonathan Lucroy

General Manager Doug Melvin met with the assembled media

EXCLUSIVE with 40-man pitcher Michael Blazek

Prinicpal Owner Mark Attanasio addressed the media

This is the full audio from one of the Main Stage events, a panel discussion (with fan questions!) featuring Mark Attanasio, Doug Melvin, Gord Ash, Adam Lind, Corey Knebel, and Luis Sardinas

Brewers On Deck 2015 – Attendees List, Pricing, Additional Details

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BREWERS ON DECK TO INCLUDE OVER 50 PLAYERS, COACHES, BROADCASTERS & ALUMNI
Event to Feature Community Book Drive; Food Donations Accepted through Hunger Task Force

OFFICIAL RELEASE

Nearly 50 Milwaukee Brewers players plus a host of alumni, coaches, front office executives and broadcasters are scheduled to participate in Brewers On Deck, which is set to take place on Sunday, January 25 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. at the Wisconsin Center.

Advance tickets are $15 for adults and $9 for children 14 and under.  Tickets on the day of the event are $20 for adults and $15 for children 14 and under.  A portion of the proceeds from Brewers On Deck will benefit Brewers Community Foundation. Tickets may be purchased at the Miller Park ticket office, by calling the Brewers ticket office at 414-902-4000, or online at brewers.com/ondeck.

This year the event will feature a community book drive that will help support Next Door’s Books for Kids program. The goal of the Books for Kids campaign is to help all children in Milwaukee’s central city, regardless of their family income or education levels, have books they can call their own. Local author Marla McKenna will help host the event. Fans are encouraged to bring new or gently used children’s books to donate. In appreciation for their contribution, fans who donate a book will receive a free copy of McKenna’s newest publication, “Mom’s Big Catch,” a story based upon events that took place at Miller Park.

Once again food donations will be accepted through Hunger Task.  Donations can be dropped off at two main entrances to the Wisconsin Center, located at 4th Street and Wisconsin Avenue, and 4th Street and Wells Street.

Players, coaches and alumni scheduled to attend include (all subject to change):

PLAYERS

  • Michael Blazek
  • Ryan Braun
  • Juan Centeno
  • Matt Clark
  • Clint Coulter
  • Khris Davis
  • Mike Fiers
  • Yovani Gallardo
  • Scooter Gennett
  • David Goforth
  • Carlos Gomez
  • Hector Gomez
  • Brooks Hall
  • Jim Henderson
  • Jeremy Jeffress
  • Taylor Jungmann
  • Brandon Kintzler
  • Corey Knebel (just added)
  • Adam Lind
  • Jonathan Lucroy
  • Kyle Lohse
  • Hunter Morris
  • Jimmy Nelson
  • Gerardo Parra
  • Wily Peralta
  • Shane Peterson
  • Jason Rogers
  • Luis Sardiñas (just added)
  • Logan Schafer
  • Will Smith
  • Michael Strong
  • Tyler Thornburg
  • Rob Wooten

COACHES

  • Darnell Coles (Hitting Coach)
  • Joe Crawford (Video/Scouting)
  • Matt Erickson (Timber Rattlers Mgr.)
  • Mike Guerrero (1st Base Coach)
  • Marcus Hanel (Bullpen Catcher)
  • Rick Kranitz (Pitching Coach)
  • Jerry Narron (Bench Coach)
  • Ron Roenicke (Manager)
  • Ed Sedar (3rd Base Coach)
  • John Shelby (Outfield Coach)
  • Lee Tunnell (Bullpen Coach)

ALUMNI

  • Jerry Augustine
  • Cecil Cooper
  • Craig Counsell
  • Rob Deer
  • Jim Gantner
  • Larry Hisle

Brewers On Deck will feature a number of activities for the entire family.  Autographs and photos from Brewers players, coaches and alumni; interactive games in the Kids Area; Q&A sessions and game shows with Brewers players, coaches and broadcasters; vendor booths with baseball memorabilia; Brewers Community Foundation’s Treasure Hunt, a 50/50 raffle, live auction and many other activities will all be a part of Brewers On Deck.

Details regarding autographs include the following:  Recipients of “PREMIER” autographs (players to be announced next week) will be chosen through a random selection process. Each fan in attendance will receive one Premier Entry sheet which may be redeemed at the Random Selection area outside the Main Exhibit Hall of the Wisconsin Center District.  The Premier Entry sheet will be exchanged for a numbered coupon to be entered into the random selection process for any one of the select Brewers players.  Coupon distribution will be available at 8 a.m. the day of the event and will continue up to an hour before each designated autograph session.   There is no cost for coupons to enter the random selection process; however, those holding winning coupons must pay $10 at the respective autograph stage to collect their player signature.  There will be 250 winners for each of the autograph sessions.  The winning ticket numbers will be posted at the designated autograph stage no less than 30 minutes prior to each player’s session.

Players and staff not included in the PREMIER autograph list will not use the random selection process. Each of these players will sign 250 autographs at prices ranging from free to $10. A schedule of players, their session times, and distribution info will be posted next week.  The autograph opportunities are for signatures on photo cards provided by the team; the Brewers cannot guarantee that any player will sign other memorabilia.  For additional information, visit Brewers.com/ondeck.

Autograph proceeds benefit Brewers Community Foundation.  Please note that cash is the only acceptable form of payment for autographs. The Brewers cannot guarantee that any player will sign other memorabilia, and personalization of items is solely up to the discretion of each player.

A detailed schedule of all Brewers On Deck events will be released next week.

***UPDATE! Here is the schedule…***

Recipients of “PREMIER” autographs Ryan Braun, Carlos Gomez, Jonathan Lucroy and Bob Uecker will be chosen through a random selection process. Each fan in attendance will receive one Premier Entry card which may be redeemed at the Random Selection area outside the Main Exhibit Hall of the Wisconsin Center.  The Premier Entry card will be exchanged for a numbered coupon and entered into the random selection process for any one of the select Brewers players.  Coupon distribution will be available at 8 a.m. the day of the event and will continue up to an hour before each designated autograph session.

There is no cost for coupons to enter the random selection process; however, those holding winning coupons must pay $10 at the respective autograph stage to collect their player signature.  There will be 250 winners for each of the autograph sessions.  The winning ticket numbers will be posted at the designated autograph stage no less than 30 minutes prior to each player’s session. A schedule is listed below:

PREMIER AUTOGRAPH SCHEDULE

Player                                   Signing Time       Stage

Bob Uecker                           12:30 – 1:15         5

Ryan Braun                          1:00 – 1:45           6

Jonathan Lucroy                 2:30 – 3:15           3

Carlos Gomez                      3:00 – 3:45           1

Players and staff not included in the above autograph list will not use the random selection process. Each of those players will sign 250 autographs at prices ranging from free to $10.

The autograph opportunities are for signatures on photo cards provided by the team; the Brewers cannot guarantee that any player will sign other memorabilia, and personalization of items is solely up to the discretion of each player (BOLD ITALICS – Premier Autograph).

Autograph Schedule – MAIN STAGES

Stage 1                                                                                               

10:30 – 11:15      Scooter Gennett ($10)

12:00 – 12:45      Logan Schafer ($10)

1:30 – 2:15           Mike Fiers ($10)

3:00 – 3:45           Carlos Gomez ($10)

 

Stage 2                                                                                                

12:30 – 1:15         Jim Henderson ($10)

2:00 – 2:45           Gerardo Parra ($10)

3:30 – 4:15           Will Smith ($10)

 

Stage 3                                                                                            

11:30 – 12:15      Adam Lind ($10)

2:30 – 3:15           Jonathan Lucroy ($10)

3:45 – 4:30           Wily Peralta ($10)

 

Stage 4                                                                                                 

10:30 – 11:15     Brandon Kintzler ($10)

12:00 – 12:45      Rob Wooten ($10)

1:30 – 2:15           Khris Davis  ($10)

 

Stage 5

11:00 – 11:45 Jimmy Nelson ($10)

12:30 – 1:15   Bob Uecker  ($10)/Mark Attanasio ($0)

3:30 – 4:15   Jeremy Jeffress ($10)

 

Stage 6

11:30 – 12:15      Tyler Thornburg ($10)

1:00 – 1:45           Ryan Braun ($10)

3:45 – 4:30           Kyle Lohse ($10)

Players who are not listed above will sign free autographs on the Bonus Stage all day long.

Please note that cash is the only acceptable form of payment for autographs.

The 620 WTMJ Stage will broadcast live from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. and will include interviews with Brewers players and coaches.

New this year, fans are invited to stop by the Social Media Stage for fun and games. Fans can also post their photos from the event to Twitter and/or Instagram using the hashtag #BrewersOnDeck for a chance to win prizes such as a trip down Bernie Brewer’s slide, game tickets and more. For contest rules, visit brewers.com/onDeck.

Children are invited to visit the Farm Teams Infield for free batting and hitting clinics scheduled throughout the day.  Brewers alumni and players will be on hand for the instructional sessions.  Kids can run around the field or try a quick game of ping pong with Brewers players.

Klement’s Main Stage Schedule

10:15 a.m. – Welcome – Brewers television broadcaster Craig Coshun will welcome fans to Brewers On Deck. The winners of the seven T-Shirt Friday designs will be introduced to fans.

11:15 a.m. – Meet the Coaches – Third base coach Ed Sedar will host a Q&A session with Brewers manager Ron Roenicke and his coaching staff.

12:30 p.m. – The Brewlywed Game – Brewers players, coaches, prospects and alumni will participate in a game show to see which pair really knows each other the best.  Joe Block will host the show.

2:00 p.m. – Meet the Management and Newest Players – Brewers Chairman and Principal Owner Mark Attanasio, President of Baseball Operations – General Manager Doug Melvin, Vice President – Assistant General Manager Gord Ash will join the newest Brewers acquisitions – Corey Knebel, Adam Lind and Luis Sardinas – in a question and answer session with Brewers fans. The session will be hosted by Brian Anderson.

3:15 p.m. – Call to the Pen – Brewers players, coaches, prospects and alumni will participate in a game show, similar to Pictionary.  Joe Block will host the show.

Don’t Call It a Comeback

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My annual countdown to Opening Day will return for another season!

There has been some decent 40-man roster turnover since Spring Training. I mark the passage of time from (roughly) the turn of the calendar until Brewers Opening Day by previewing players who wear a certain uniform number on the corresponding day.

We’re 98 days away from Opening Day, so we won’t get underway on this thing quite yet, but once the countdown coincides with a jersey, you’ll see the first column go up.

I call the series “Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers” and it works a little something like this:

  • Opening Day is April 6, 2015.
  • March 29th is eight days before April 6th.
  • Ryan Braun wears number 8 on his jersey.
  • I’ll write an article reviewing Ryan Braun’s 2014 and looking ahead to his 2015 and post it on March 29, 2015.

Make sense? Here’s another example:

  • Jonathan Broxton wears number 51.
  • 51 days before April 6th is February 14th.
  • I’ll post my Broxton column on February 14th.

I do a column on every player who is on the Brewers 40-man roster along with most Spring Training non-roster invitees. I’ll update this space with a full schedule once the uniform numbers for the newest 40-man additions are announced. I’ll update it again as non-roster invitees are revealed.

Thanks for reading and sticking with me this winter. BBtJN is a very popular series and I thank you for that. Stay tuned!

Brewers Make First Group of September Call-Ups

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The Milwaukee Brewers have made what is at least their first round of September call-ups prior to Monday’s game in Chicago.

As I first told you on Twitter just before 10pm on Sunday night:

I went on to mention how much sense it makes to have a third catcher in the month of September. Just think back to how the Brewers utilized Yorvit Torrealba, and you’ll get the idea.

In order to clear a 40-man roster spot, which I mentioned they’d need, the Brewers moved infielder Jeff Bianchi to the 60-day Disabled List.

The only other true September call-up at this point is outfielder Logan Schafer, likely recalled a day earlier than he would have been due to the uncertainty surrounding the injured wrist of Carlos Gomez. Gomez said he felt a pop in his left wrist while swinging during an at-bat in the top of the third inning on Sunday afternoon in San Francisco. He was pulled from the game after awkwardly finishing his at-bat with a bad swing.

To Schafer’s part, he’s had a whole lot full of better looking swings since getting back in a groove due to his regular playing time with Nashville. When he was demoted following the acquisition of Gerardo Parra, Schafer went back to a .236/.349/.375 slash line in Triple-A. All he’s done is get hits in 19 out of his 23 games (including eight multi-hit affairs) and raised his slash line to .273/.356/.461 which is not an insignificant increase. Schafer still brings his glove with him which he might need early.

As for the other additions made official on Monday, while Jimmy Nelson is technically a September call-up (he was only officially with the Brevard County Manatees on paper while awaiting his scheduled MLB start Monday afternoon), the Brewers otherwise activated both Matt Garza and Wei-Chung Wang off of the 15-day Disabled List.

Garza is scheduled to rejoin the Brewers starting rotation on Wednesday in Chicago. He has been out since being pulled during a brilliant start against the St. Louis Cardinals back  on August 3rd after straining his left oblique. The Cardinals came back to steal that one from the Brewers prompting Garza to say that they “dodged a bullet.” Hopefully it doesn’t take Garza long to round back into that same form. The Brewers are going to need him.

The Brewers probably won’t need much from Wei-Chung Wang though. Wang has been stretching out during his rehab assignment, most recently completing the longest outing (7.2 IP) of his professional career with the Brevard County Manatees. In it, he tied a career-high with eight strikeouts, something he hadn’t done since his first appearance in 2013 in the Pirates’ system. It will be good experience for Wang to be around a pennant push, though I wouldn’t expect him to pitch maybe at all in September. They’ve got more than enough arms to cover themselves and Ron Roenicke rightfully won’t exactly trust Wang with every pitch being so crucial over the next 28 days.

The other new face in the Brewer locker room on Monday is expected to be relief pitcher Jonathan Broxton whom the Brewers officially acquired from the Cincinnati Reds just after noon on Sunday. For more on that deal, check my write-up here as well as my short interview with Broxton’s agent.

Rumors: What I Was Told About Brewers’ Interest in David Price, and When I Heard It

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There’s been a lot of talk today regarding the Brewers involvement in left-handed starting pitcher, the true ace of the Tampa Bay Rays, David Price. I’ve been sitting on a rumor for over three weeks now and may as well talk about it now since it’s the hot topic of the day.

Ken Rosenthal and Jon Morosi of FoxSports.com kicked things off by resurrecting the ghosts of CC Sabathia and, to a different degree, Zack Greinke in pointing out that the Brewers have made runs to the playoffs after acquiring ace pitchers. Sabathia, of course, was the 2008 in-season addition who carried the Brewers to the playoffs along with Ben Sheets.

Rosenthal and Morosi comment that the Brewers were “putting their ‘foot in the water'” on Price and that the results of Rays vs Brewers over the next few days could directly influence Price’s future, both in terms of whether and, if so, where he’ll be dealt. Well, what I was told is that three weeks ago, Melvin supposedly offered a package to the Rays that featured Jimmy Nelson as the centerpiece. I don’t know who else was discussed along with Nelson, but I was told that any package offered for discussion was a “non-starter”, at least at the time. What that means is that it simply wasn’t enough of a return for Tampa to consider. It lead to a report that the Brewers were viewed as “out” on Price at the time.

As teams have gotten back into the race, or fallen out of it, trade partners also fluctuate. Perhaps the Rays are more willing to deal with the Brewers now, and perhaps that’s because Melvin is willing to part with different pieces now than he was before. That, I don’t know. But I was told three weeks ago that Andrew Friedman and the Rays’ front office are valuing near-MLB prospects more than “high-ceiling, but further away from contributing types. Again, they may not have seen what they wanted to in that realm and are now willing to consider those “further away” prospects, but I’m not privy to any more recent discussions…at least not yet.

So, yes, the Brewers expressed interest. And while things may have changed in the last 22 days, initial information indicated that Melvin and company didn’t have the right package to pull off the major coup this time around.

And while I don’t expect anything to happen, it sure would be fun if they figured out a way to sweeten their offer.

Roster News: Brewers Play Recall, Reassign, DL Shuffle

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GUESS WHO’S BACK — BACK AGAIN?

While I was eating supper with my parents who are in from out of town, the Milwaukee Brewers made official was has been danced around and toward for some time now.

Jimmy Nelson has been recalled from the minor leagues.

He’ll start on Saturday against St. Louis at Miller Park, his first home start of 2014. With the gap in the National League’s Central Division at 2.0 games (as of publishing on Thursday, July 10) the Brewers brass must have felt that rolling the dice with Marco Estrada against a Cardinal team he’s historically struggled against wasn’t what is best for the business of winning baseball games.

Nelson comes with plenty of acclaim and hope, and hopefully plenty of aplomb as he’ll be thrown right into the thick of a divisional race that is as tight as it’s been in roughly three months.

Around making one spot start — for Yovani Gallardo who sprained his ankle — Nelson has spent his season with the Class-AAA Nashville Sounds. In a nutshell, Nelson was the top vote-getter for the Triple-A All-Star Game and was going to start the same for his Pacific Coast League squad. To go a little deeper, here’s Nelson’s season line at Nashville:

10-2, 1.46 ERA, 111.0 IP, 70 H, 23 R (18 ER),  3 HR, 114:32 K:BB, 0.919 WHIP, .179/.247/.245 slash line against

Some ratios: 0.2 HR/9, 9.2 K/9, 3.56 K/BB

And some more advanced stats: 2.47 FIP, 2.84 SIERA, 57.3% GB%

In summary, Nelson has been a dominant force in Triple-A this season and is clearly ready to try the next level. But let’s be fair to him. He should not be seen as a savior or the next coming. He’s got the goods to compete, and will likely struggle from time to time as he adjusts to the best hitters in the world, but as he showed in that spot start against the Marlins, he has the chance to compete. That’s something that the team hasn’t always gotten out of Marco Estrada, whose spot in the rotation Nelson will be taking.

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ESTRADA LEASES A SPOT IN THE BULLPEN

Speaking of Estrada, of the 4.96 ERA, 5.71 FIP, and MLB-worst 27 home runs allowed, he will be contributing to the team from the bullpen for the foreseeable future.

Estrada should be somewhat useful if he’s able to embrace the role and get all the way back to his strike-throwing, command-heavy ways. Working against him are his splits in the first inning of his appearances so far this season. In his first inning of work in 2014, Estrada sports a 6.00 ERA, having allowed 12 ER in 18.0 IP. Seven of his 27 home runs allowed have come within the first three outs of his appearances and opponents are slugging .653 in the same. And for the sake of full disclosure, Estrada hasn’t walked a batter yet this year in his first innings of work.

But those numbers are why I’ve been a little confused when so many people have touted Estrada for a bullpen job. It doesn’t seem nearly as cut and dried as many say that Estrada will be “so much better” as a reliever.

Time will tell.

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WANG INJURED, TRULY AND HONESTLY

The other thing time will tell is just how long Wei-Chung Wang will be on the disabled list. That’s right, conspiracy theorists: The Brewers placed Wang on the 15-day Disabled List with left shoulder tightness.

In all seriousness, I don’t believe that the team has made up this injury. Rule V Draft choices are closely monitored so that teams cannot simply stash them on the DL with false injuries.

But that’s beside the point of this article. The point of this article requires me to tell you that they opened up the spot on the 25-man roster to recall Nelson by placing Wang on the DL.

So, there you have it, Brewer Nation.

  • Nelson up and into the rotation
  • Estrada moved into the bullpen
  • Wang placed on the disabled list

Thoughts? Let’s hear ’em.

Comment here or respond via social media.

Follow me on Twitter: @BrewerNation

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Demonstrating a Willingness To Change

A few funny things have happened on the way to June.

While the Brewers have been slogging through a seesaw month of May (two and six in their first eight, five and one in the next six, one and five in the six after that, five and two in the most recent seven games entering play on May 31st), they’ve tinkered and toyed with some things that we simply wouldn’t see — because we haven’t — in recent history.

First, the Brewers posted their May 24th lineup and it featured a major change. After a day off to rest his tweaked oblique, rightfielder Ryan Braun was back in the lineup but he was hitting second. It’s a move that sabermetricians would love as there is plenty of statistical evidence that the second spot in the lineup is the most efficient and productive spot for your “best” hitter. Braun and his offensive brethren would falter in that game from a run production standpoint as they would only score once despite 11 hits. (It was Braun that scored the run, for what it’s worth.) But this would not be a one day trial that manager Ron Roenicke would abandon due to lackluster results in the columns of R or W.

Roenicke explained his thoughts after the game, more or less, and confirmed that this was the plan for a while. Truth be told, it started in phases even though that might not have been by design. Season-long leadoff hitter Carlos Gomez needed a day off two days earlier on May 22. It was that day that Roenicke moved Jean Segura up to lead off for Milwaukee. Segura responded by going 3-for-5 with two runs scored in a loss to Atlanta. When Gomez returend on May 23, Roenicke left Segura at the top and inserted the powerful Gomez in the cleanup position. That was seen as a reaction to Braun being out and moving Jonathan Lucroy up to Braun’s customary third spot. It was seen as a blip and scarcely even mentioned let alone thought deeply about. Then Braun returned on May 24 and Segura, Lucroy and Gomez held their positions as Braun slid in at number two.

The offense has been on a tear since that 22nd of May, tying a franchise record with at least 10 hits in 10 straight games. All this has happened without Aramis Ramirez, and it’s almost June 1, which we collectively know as Aramis Ramirez Day. If he comes back (scheduled for Wednesday in Minnesota and likely DHing) and doesn’t take long to warm up, the offense could really make a splash early in the second third of the season.

But there is more going on than just a significant lineup change.

On that same May 24 in Miami, the Brewers outrighted Jeff Bianchi to Triple-A Nashville after he cleared waivers. Bianchi, who is out of options, has been outrighted off of a 40-man roster before in his career and therefore had the right to refuse this assignment thereby electing free agency. He eventually decided to stay, but the point here is that there was more going on than simply swapping one utility infielder for another (they called up Irving Falu, but you know that).

The Brewers of the recent past would not risk losing an asset, even one grossly underperforming as was Bianchi, by outrighting them. This is a front office displaying more of a sense of urgency than even they themselves did this off-season by signing Matt Garza and bolstering a rotation that many assumed they’d just fill in house with five readily identified arms.

That they were willing to shake up their lineup, one that had been struggling to score runs shortly beforehand, and outright Bianchi at all speaks to the team’s desire to sustain their position atop the National League Central. They are not going to stand idly by, subscribing to the Ned Yost School of Thought that once infamously and dismissively reminded worriers that his Brewers were “still in first place”.

No. These Brewers, while still in first place, were seeing a once large lead begin diminshing as perennial division rivals the St. Louis Cardinals began to find their stride a bit while the Brewers scuffled. Their lead was down to 1.5 games as recently as May 27. Milwaukee is certainly striding right at the moment as they’ve won their last three with St. Louis losing its last three and the division lead entering play on the last day of May was back up to 4.0 full games.

Complacency and status quo are not seemingly in the toolbox of the 2014 Milwaukee Brewers. Kudos to them for yet another day alone in first place (where they’ve been since April 9) but more so they deserve accolades and attention for not just thinking that was good enough.

What’s more? They aren’t necessarily done.

They could consider changes in their first base platoon, including dumping the defensively solid but weak-sticked Lyle Overbay. They could juggle their bullpen pieces a bit which they’ll have to do when Tom Gorzelanny is ready but there’s certainly room for more if they desire. They could certainly continue to tweak their bench and bring in a more powerful option their the currently versatile yet light-hitting duo of Falu and Elian Herrera. And if someone doesn’t perform in that rotation or if they need to use a piece to get a piece elsewhere, they could make the decision to go with Jimmy Nelson at some point.

The bottom line is that if they decide to stand pat this season it won’t be due to a lack of want to change nor will it be due to any apprehension thereof. This is a front office that not only sees the benefits in making moves, but certainly won’t be lured in by making a change for the sake of change.

It’s a different feeling than we’re used to as fans over recent history, but it’s certainly a welcome one.

Roster News: Nelson Optioned, Falu’s Contract Purchased

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Following his season debut (5.2 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 6 K), spot starter Jimmy Nelson was optioned back down to the minor leagues. As I said on Twitter at the time, it was an exciting glimpse at a piece of the Brewers future.

Nelson had a number of high leverage moments in his start and got through them all with high marks.

In his place, the Brewers filled their opening on the 40-man roster and strengthened their bench by purchasing the contract of infielder Irving Falu from their Triple-A affiliate, the Nashville Sounds. Falu fills the open spot on the Brewers’ 40-man roster that was vacated when utility man Jeff Bianchi was outrighted to Nashville following Saturday’s game in Miami.

Falu, 30, will join the Brewers as they arrive home following their season-long 10-game road trip. He brings with him a .280/.342/.333 slash line in 38 games for the Sounds. He has also appeared in 14 games defensively at shortstop, including 12 starts. That’s a key note because when the Brewers decided to outright Bianchi to Nashville, they did so knowing that they preferred a replacement who could help fill the void as a backup defenseman, especially at the crucial position of shortstop. Falu is skilled at second base and third base as well, once again providing quality versatility.

(For more on Falu’s background, check out his “Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers” entry from Spring Training.)

Like Elian Herrera who has also been tapped more than once this season in no small part because of his defensive versatility, Falu is a switch-hitter. Unlike Herrera, Falu’s career handedness splits aren’t as drastic at all. In 2014 for Nashville to this point though, he’s slashing .314/.386/.392 as a right-handed hitter but only .259/.315/.296 as a left-handed hitter.

Still, Falu should be capable of proving a nice boost off the bench where Bianchi had been faltering of late. It remains to be seen exactly how Ron Roenicke orders his defensive depth chart, but the Brewers field manager is on record as liking the game of Falu who was one of the final players cut in Spring Training.

Hopefully he performs better and more consistently than did his predecessor.

Nelson Officially Recalled, Infielder Outrighted to Nashville to Make Room

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Jimmy Nelson will be officially recalled to make his season debut for the Milwaukee Brewers before Sunday’s series finale in Miami. That much we knew since yesterday.

What needed to happen though was a player being removed from the 25-man roster one way or another to make room.

Here’s what we found out after the game on Saturday…

Jeff Bianchi has been outrighted off of a 40-man roster before in his career and why that matters is that he has the right to refuse the assignment thereby becoming a free agent. The Brewers have expressed a desire to keep Bianchi in the organization, but he has said that he’ll talk things over with his agent before making a decision.

Bianchi was originally acquired by the Brewers on January 11, 2012 via waiver claim from the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs had claimed Bianchi on December 9, 2011 from the Kansas City Royals, his original organization.

For the foreseeable future, it looks like the Brewers will retain switch-hitting utility man Elian Herrera as their primary backup at the key shortstop position. Herrera can play all three outfield spots, third base, and second base as well.

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