Through the first 20 games of the regular season, the Yankees have had the best bullpen in Major League Baseball.
New York led the league with a spectacular 2.03 ERA, .174 opponent's batting average and 0.95 WHIP entering play on Sunday, seeing practically every member of the 'pen get the job done each time their number has been called.
One major exception to those stellar numbers, however, has been right-hander Nick Nelson.
After another shaky outing on Sunday—allowing three runs on four hits in two frames—Nelson has an 8.59 ERA over 7.1 innings out of the bullpen. That doesn't even include the two runs he allowed when working as the Yankees' opener in the first inning against Tampa Bay a few weeks ago (taking his overall ERA to 9.72).
That in mind, following New York's loss to the Indians on Sunday, the Yankees announced that Nelson had been optioned to the club's alternate site.
"I think a number of kind of non-competitive pitches in there where he clearly has the stuff," Boone said, analyzing Nelson's performance this season. "It's a good pitch and then it's a couple that aren't real close to the zone. So, I think important thing for right now is to get him back on track and making sure the strike throwing is where it needs to be."
Boone and the entire coaching staff have spoken highly of Nelson and his big-league potential dating back to the right-hander's debut in 2020. The numbers are glaring to start the year, but the glimpses of greatness are still there.
When Nelson is hitting his spots, he's as unhittable as any other member of the 'pen. In fact, Nelson is in the 99th percentile with a 50.8 whiff percentage and 96th percentile with a 41.9 strikeout percentage, per Statcast.
It's hard to get outs when you're struggling to find the strike zone, though, walking five hitters in 8.1 total frames. Nelson also has a 61.5 hard hit percentage, in the bottom two percent of the entire league.
You'll see the 25-year-old again this year, but for now, Nelson will travel to Scranton as he looks to find his command and turn his season around.
- Report: Yankees, Angels Talked Aaron Judge Trade in Offseason
- Aaron Hicks Sits in Series Finale With Back Tightness
- Cole Bests Bieber With 11-Strikeout Gem