Nelson to Start?
Jimmy Nelson got his September call-up earlier this month, but he's appeared just twice in relief roles over the past two weeks. The Brewers, however, are considering giving their pitching prospect a start down the stretch, according to Adam McCalvy of MLB.com.
The real question is why this hasn't happened already. If the Brewers wanted to play the "innings limit" card, then that'd be fine. Nelson threw 152 1/3 innings in the minors this season between Double and Triple-A, a career high for the right-hander. But if that were the case, having him make two, short, spaced-out appearances out of the bullpen then a start or two a week later would be a terrible idea.
The real reason he hasn't received a start to this point is because of the Brewers already crowded rotation, which currently has six men in it to begin with. Still, giving Nelson a start or two as a test for next season seems like it should be among the team's top priorities.
Nelson has some control issues that may relegate him to the bullpen long-term, but he's worked as a starter primarily in his minor league career and the Brewers have no plans to change that at the moment. Having spent half of the season in Triple-A in 2013, he may need a return to Nashville to begin the 2014 season, but he's close to as finished of a product as he's probably ever going to be. It's probably a good idea for the Brewers to find him a start or two to see what they have for next season.
Top Overall Pick Finally Arrives
Tim Beckham is a part of a prestigious baseball club, having been the top overall pick in the amateur draft in 2008. That pick has gone down as one of the few mistakes the Rays front office made during an extremely successful stretch late in the first decade of the millennium (in the consideration for the top pick was Buster Posey), but the Rays are still hoping to get something out of Beckham, whose career has become somewhat stagnated in Triple-A over the past few years.
Beckham has been called up by the Rays, reports Bill Chastain of MLB.com, now that the Triple-A season has officially come to an end. Beckham hit .276/.342/.387 in a full season at Triple-A Durham this season.
When drafted, Beckham was projected as a shortstop with power potential, neither of which has worked out. Beckham is still playing shortstop, but he has seen time at second base as well and projects as more of a utility man at this point, with his defense at shortstop coming in as sub-par, especially if relied upon for an entire season. The power never fully developed either, with 12 home runs as 2011 coming in as his career high. Beckham hit just four home runs this season. He's also an aggressive hitter who doesn't take a lot of walks.
Beckham could find a niche as a utility man with the Rays, who use versatility as well as any organization in the majors. He can fill in at shortstop and second, and with some time, can probably play third base as well. He has the strong arm to play right field, something he has the athleticism to do as well. If he can find a role, likely hitting left-handed pitching, he could put together a decent major league career.
As for this season, his role is likely to be limited as the Rays fight for a Wild Card birth.