1. Keep Trusting Nick Nelson as ‘Swiss Army Knife’
Our answer is Nick Nelson, who works as a one-inning option, but would have so much more value as someone who can caddy for Kluber and Jameson Taillon with a guaranteed two or three innings at a time.
When Michael King got up in a one-run game Saturday, who else cringed? With Loaisiga needed in the back end, that should’ve been Nelson, who showed again this week that he has much higher upside.
Coming off a spring where every opposing scout under the sun gushed about him, Nelson’s right arm continued to shine in the opener, felled by an awful rule that placed an automatic runner on second for him.
Blessed with 97 on the fastball and a plethora of secondary pitches, Nelson could also be a starter in emergency situations — though he did show late-inning upside in batting away all three hitters after the Grichuk double.
Once again, if not for an unfortunate rule change, he would’ve wriggled out of trouble.
Loaisiga, at this point, should not be a starter. His stuff always plays up when he’s got a leash on him, and he could be a very valuable breakout candidate at the tail end of the bullpen.
Nelson? I mean…does anyone have a reason he can’t start? Until that day comes, though, he should absolutely be first in line ahead of King to conserve the rotation’s innings, instead of being the first guy out of the ‘pen in extras.