Dodgers: 3 LAD players who still have major leaps to make in 2021
By Adam Weinrib
1. Jimmy Nelson
Dodgers reliever Jimmy Nelson — whose nickname is apparently “Big Sweat”? (cool) — is having a solid comeback season thus far, his strenuous two innings against the San Diego Padres excluded.
17 whiffs in 12 innings with his big breaker will certainly play, though his 1.58 WHIP is a bit worrisome, and there’s room for improvement in his good-not-great 3.75 ERA.
Luckily, advanced metrics to the rescue!
Fans should be patient with Nelson, who’s towards the end of a long road back from multiple devastating injuries, but isn’t all the way settled yet — and he’s a starter by trade, too, so this whole bullpen thing is new for him. Combined, batters are hitting .227 off Nelson with a somewhat-unsightly .370 OBP.
If Nelson can just reduce the walks, though, he’ll be set. Why? His expected batting numbers against are even better … by a large margin.
.147 XBA. Minuscule. .243 XSLG. .265 XWOBACON. Nelson is, by all metrics, a few tweaks away from being one of the best multi-inning relievers in all of baseball.
That slugging mark ranks in the top 5% of all MLB pitchers, the XWOBACON ranks at 4%, and the XBA is in the top 3%. Of everyone who’s appeared in a game this year.
Stay settled, Big Sweat. Big things are on the horizon for you.