Friday, December 7, 2012

Hector Nelo: Rule 5 Draft Scouting Report

Hector Nelo was taken by the Dodgers in the AAA phase of the Rule 5 draft from the Nationals. Nelo spent the whole year in Washington's AA and was originally drafted by the Texas Rangers in the 15th round in 2007. The 26 year old right-hander has been a reliever basically his whole career and made 47 appearances out of the bullpen in 2012. The 6-1 right-hander had a FIP .28 better than league average and SIERA .77 better than league average. He matched a gigantic strikeout rate with a big ground-ball rate and large walk rate.

He was voted by Baseball America as having the best fastball in the Carolina League in 2011 and gets up to 96-100 MPH. When I went back and watched him (via MiLB.TV, I watched his last outing of the season), he was very fastball heavy and moved it both up and down and threw it straight and cut and moved it. His control of it was very poor (perhaps why he was throwing it up and down). He does seem to throw a separate sinker along with a soft unimpressive slider/curveball. He can throw it for strikes but it doesn't seem like a put away pitch. His delivery looks pretty simple and repeatable, so I don't think that is why he is having control problems.

He doesn't have any real platoon splits, nearly equally effective against both lefties and righties. Nelo was actually better at home in 2012 even though the park is slightly hitter friendly (small sample size alerts apply for one year reliever splits especially). That kind of fastball is always interesting and will continue to get Nelo jobs. The Dodgers do not have to use him in the Major Leagues this year (unlike if he was taken in the MLB portion of the Rule 5 draft), but I think he is a guy that could help their bullpen. While one must take his 2012 numbers with a major grain of salt since he was older than the competition, I think the relative skill set is there. Certainly the talent and stuff is, but his command must get better. If he doesn't impress in Spring Training enough to get a MLB roster spot (on a team that isn't afraid to spend and spend on relievers), then AAA Albuquerque will be quite a test for him. As long as he doesn't walk the entire PCL (and the gobs of 30+ year old sluggers), he should do just fine thanks to his ground-ball rate. Eventually, he should get his chance, and I think he would do reasonable well in a MLB bullpen.

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