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Ryne Nelson Could Play a Major Role in Diamondbacks Rebuild

Ryne Nelson

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 05: Ryne Nelson #52 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches during the thir inning of a game against the San Diego Padres at PETCO Park on September 05, 2022 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Ryne Nelson Could Play a Major Role in Diamondbacks Rebuild

The Arizona Diamondbacks haven’t had a lot of success in recent memory. Their last playoff appearance was in 2017, but before that, it was back in 2011. However, they are one of the most exciting teams if you look towards the future. They have multiple top prospects within their farm system with plenty of young names on their current MLB roster. Ryne Nelson, a right-handed pitcher, is one of those top prospects currently on the MLB roster. Nelson is ranked as the eighth-best prospect in the Arizona organization. However, after two starts in the MLB, Nelson looks like the real deal and could be a key piece in the Diamondbacks rotation.

Looking back at the 2019 MLB Draft, Nelson was one of the most intriguing names in the draft. While at the University of Oregon, Nelson was a two-way player playing in the infield and pitching in relief. Oregon finally made Nelson a full-time pitcher and the results jumped off the charts. While being a full-time reliever, Nelson averaged 14.4 strikeouts per nine innings, putting him as the fourth-best in D-1. With his electric stuff, Arizona selected Nelson in the second round of the 2019 Draft. 

Nelson flew through the minor leagues and made his MLB debut against the San Diego Padres on Sept. 5 of this year. During his debut, Nelson dominated the dangerous Padres lineup throwing seven scoreless innings and adding seven strikeouts. The right-handed pitcher gave up a leadoff double and then retired 17 batters in a row. The next start for Nelson didn’t come easier. The Diamondbacks faced the Los Angeles Dodgers for the prospect’s second career start. Similar to his first outing, Nelson dominated the Dodgers lineup. Los Angeles struck out six times in six innings while only collecting two hits against the right-hander. Nelson now has a scoreless streak of 13 innings to start a career, a number that no pitcher in Arizona Diamondbacks history has ever accomplished. 

So, what makes Ryne Nelson special? After watching his past two performances, he doesn’t look like a pitcher making his second career start. Nelson has the ability to attack hitters with his untouchable stuff and work out of tough situations. One of the most noticeable things through his two starts has been his pitch arsenal, as Nelson possesses a powerful fastball sitting at 95 mph that touches 97 on occasion, and a knee buckling curveball. He does have two other secondary pitches in a slider (10% usage) and a changeup (6% usage). 

If Nelson can keep improving, Arizona will have a very solid rotation in the upcoming years. Zac Gallen, who Arizona traded Jazz Chisholm for, has been amazing this year posting a 2.50 ERA and a 0.91 WHIP. Merrill Kelly has also been terrific for Arizona boasting a 2.94 ERA and sustaining a 1.08 WHIP. The D-Backs also have another pitching prospect knocking on the door of the majors as well, the No. 96 best prospect in the MLB in Brandon Pfaadt. 

The future looks promising for the Diamondbacks with the amount of talent they possess. The Diamondbacks have been in full rebuild mode since trading away NL MVP front-runner Paul Goldschmidt to St. Louis. With all the pitching Arizona has for the next couple of years, they still have multiple hitting prospects within the top 100 of baseball. Those highly touted prospects consist of Druw Jones, the second overall pick of this year’s draft, shortstop Jordan Lawlar, and Corbin Carroll, who is already on the major league roster. The Diamondbacks seem to have a very bright future and Nelson can be a huge part of that if he keeps pitching the way he currently is. Ryne Nelson looks like the real deal. 

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