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Saturday Rockpile: Chris Nelson's Rollercoaster Season

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Chris Nelson has endured a rollercoaster of a 2012 season. In addition to landing on the DL on two separate occasions, including once for an irregular heartbeat, Nelson struggled massively during a couple of stretches, including one early in the year in which he picked up a grand total of two hits away from Coors Field in two months.

In a way, Nelson's season has matched the trajectory of his entire minor league career: hit well, get injured, struggle massively, tear the cover off the ball, get injured, struggle, hit well. However frustrating that may be, I believe the Rockies have taken the correct approach with Nelson this season, and they've been rewarded with a pretty solid season from the enigmatic 27 year old.

Of course, playing devil's advocate, not many teams would give up on a guy with a first-round pedigree whose only real weakness throughout his lengthy minor league career was an inability to stay on the field. But, with the temptation of a top prospect looming, as well as having a manager who would rather play Jonathan Herrera over guys who can actually hit, the club does deserve some credit here for sticking with Nelson. Let's quickly examine a few interesting stats.

  • Since posting a .607 OPS in April, Nelson has bounced back to put up a .299/.348/.500 line. That even includes a dreadful July in which he hit .111/.200/.111 before hitting the disabled list.
  • In the second half of the season (which also coincides with his return from the aforementioned DL stint), Nelson is hitting a blistering .330/.364/.541 in 120 plate appearances.
  • Nelson has six home runs away from Coors Field, compared to just three at home. However, his overall batting line has suffered on the road, as he is hitting .233/.275/.429. Even to this point, though, that is heavily skewed due to a 2-for-33 start.
  • Nelly has destroyed the Padres this season, hitting .368/.415/.632 against the Friars.

Should be interesting to see what the Rockies decide to do with Nelson next season, as Nolan Arenado will be one step closer to invading Coors Field. Nelson would obviously make for a solid bench player/utility infielder, but he may just be able to hit enough to earn a starting job -- whether that be in Denver or elsewhere.

Links after the jump.

Dahl top Rookie player |
David Dahl has been named as the Rookie player of the year by Baseball America, meaning that Dahl was the best player across the four rookie leagues -- Pioneer, Appalachian, Arizona, and Gulf Coast. It's a pretty solid accomplishment for a guy who hadn't played a second of pro ball prior to this season. Dahl hit .379/.423/.625 for the Grand Junction Rockies.