UPDATE: It’s official. Nelson will be promoted to the majors to start Saturday while Estrada is headed to the bullpen.
2:17 p.m. ET: Almost one month ago I wrote a post wondering when the Brewers would call up pitching prospect Jimmy Nelson from Triple-A and it sounds like the time has come.
Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel just wrote: “Don’t be surprised if the Brewers call up Jimmy Nelson to start Saturday against St. Louis. That’s all I’ll say for now.”
That’s a well-connected veteran beat reporter trying to be coy rather than fully committing to breaking the news, but it’s pretty safe to say Nelson is on the way to the majors.
For now Marco Estrada is scheduled to start Saturday, but he’s been terrible all season while serving up an NL-high 27 homers in 18 starts. Meanwhile, the 25-year-old Nelson has a 1.46 ERA and 114/32 K/BB ratio in 111 innings at Triple-A and has improved his stock dramatically this season by cutting his walks while maintaining an excellent strikeout rate.
Tim Tebow isn’t letting go of his major league dreams just yet. The former NFL quarterback is slated to appear with the Mets during spring training this year, extending what initially looked like an ill-fated career choice for at least one more season. Per the club’s official announcement on Friday, he’ll join a group of spring training invitees that includes top-30 prospects like Peter Alonso, P.J. Conlon, Patrick Mazeika and David Thompson.
Tebow, 30, hasn’t taken to professional baseball as gracefully as expected. He batted a cumulative .226/.309/.347 with eight home runs and a .656 OPS in 486 plate appearances for Single-A Columbia and High-A St. Lucie in 2017. While that wasn’t enough to compel the Mets to give the aging outfielder a big league tryout, there’s no denying that Tebow brought substantial benefit to their minor league affiliates — in the form of increased attendance figures and ticket sales, that is.
Even after the Mets were booted from the NL East race last September, they resisted the idea of promoting Tebow for a late-season attendance boost of their own. That’s not to say they’re planning on taking the same approach in 2018; Tebow will undoubtedly get his cup of coffee in the majors at some point, but for now, a Grapefruit League tryout is likely as close as he’ll ever get to playing with the team’s big league roster on an everyday basis.