Saturday Rockpile: Chris Nelson Vies for Seemingly Wide-Open Utility Spot

Colorad Rockies infielder Chris Nelson looking to seize opportunity this season | ColoradoRockies.com: News
With the recent acquisition of Marco Scutaro, Chris Nelson, who was the majority of the fanbase's favorite to win the second base job, has suddenly found himself in the same position that he has been in for the last few seasons. The 26 year old former first round draft pick boasts a .792 career OPS in eight injury-riddled minor league seasons, and at this point is all but guaranteed to be labeled as a bust. However, if he does have a chance left, it's certainly this season (and unfortunately for him, in this capacity, as a backup/role player) as the infielder has no options remaining.

Nelson, who has struggled to a 68 OPS+ in parts of two big league seasons, will have every opportunity to make the club as a utility infielder, as Thomas Harding mentions in the article. He is also still young enough that, provided he stays healthy, he can turn into a solid big league contributor. However, history is not on his side, and he'll have to overcome the injury-prone label and ability to adjust to big league pitchers.

At this stage, it looks like Nelson's main competition for a utility infield spot will be Jonathan Herrera (career 65 OPS+), DJ LeMahieu (just 62 big league PA's; .753 career minor league OPS), Brandon Wood (career 39 OPS+), and Eric Young Jr. (career 60 OPS+). Those options are also assuming that Jordan Pacheco begins the season as the backup catcher (which I'm thinking he may). LeMahieu hasn't had the chance to really prove himself as a major leaguer, but it can be argued that the same can be said about Nelson, and to a certain extent, Young. Herrera is what he is (slappy/gritty/all glove/etc.), and Wood has been a flat-out disaster and is possibly a bit of a head case.

At the very least, it should be an interesting battle. If I had to pick one, I'd probably pick Eric Young Jr. (largely due to his speed and decent on-base skills), and just hope beyond all hope that nobody (namely Scutaro or Troy Tulowitzki) gets injured.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Purple Row

You must be a member of Purple Row to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Purple Row. You should read them.

Join Purple Row

You must be a member of Purple Row to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Purple Row. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9351_tracker