The Yankees had Jason Nix working on playing first before the game today. That is an excellent idea.
Consider Lyle Overbay. On the surface, his numbers are pedestrian- .239/.280/.443. But then look at his splits. Versus RHP he has hit .306/.351/.581. Against lefties, he is 2-for-26 with no walks, one extra-base hit and six K’s.
Consider Nix. He has bad numbers overall- .239/.286/.296. But against LHP he has put up a line of .243/.316/.419 in his career.
Put them together and you have a decent platoon. And with Chris Nelson on board, the Yankees can afford to shift Nix over to first and at least see what happens. It’s not a conventional approach, but considering the situation they are in, its the best one they have.
The Yankees just announced during the postgame show that they have acquired Chris Nelson from the Rockies for cash considerations or the infamous Player To Be Named Later. Nelson is a 27-year old, right-handed infielder who has played second, third and even a bit of short in the majors. In order to make room for him on the 40-man, they moved Cervelli to the 60-day DL, which means we won’t see him until the end of June at the earliest.
There is little downside to this move from a Yankees’ standpoint. Nelson was once considered the best prospects in baseball. In fact he was taken 9th overall in the 2004 draft. While he hasn’t panned out, he did hit .301/.352/.458 in 377 AB’s for Colorado last year. He also has similar OPS’s against LHP (.732) as against RHP (.740).
So how did the Yankees get him you ask? The answer is that there are two serious questions about his game. First, he is not a strong defender and that may be putting it too mildly. In just under 1,000 innings at third in the majors he has a .931 fielding percentage and 19 errors. Like advanced defensive metrics? Nelson had a -26.5 UZR/150 games last year. That’s 8 runs worse than the next to worst player at third. Secondly, his bat may very well only work in Coors Field. For his career he has put up an .824 OPS at Coors versus a .640 one on the road.
But again, what’s the downside? Youkilis is on the shelf with a bad back. Jason Nix was hitting .219/..261/.266 coming into tonight’s game and simply can’t hit right-handed pitching. Nelson is young enough that he could surprise and the Yankees do have three games coming up in Colorado. If he works good for the Yankees. If not, Matt Adams can be added to the roster as of May 15th. Welcome another player from the scrap heap to the roster.