Arizona Diamondbacks pitchers competing for the fifth rotation spot

What pitcher could claim the fifth rotation spot during Spring Training for the Arizona Diamondbacks?
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Ryne Nelson
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Ryne Nelson

Ryne Nelson made the third most starts last season among any Diamondbacks pitcher, sitting behind just Gallen and Kelly. However, Nelson struggled in his first extended look in the bigs. Still, the right-hander is only 26 and was a top prospect not that long ago. He probably has the second-best chance of securing a rotation spot behind Henry.

Nelson pitched 144 innings last year, working to a 5.31 ERA, 5.07 FIP, and 1.42 WHIP. He had a strong 7.4% walk rate, however that’s about where the positives end. Nelson had a K% of 15.5%, the third lowest of any pitcher with 140+ IP last season. He also struggled to limit home runs with a poor 1.50 HR/9 rate. Batters hit Nelson hard, as he sat below the 10th percentile of both exit velocity (90.8 MPH) and barrel rate (11.6%), as well as just the 22nd percentile of hard-hit rate (42.7%).

Nelson’s bottom line was worse than Henry’s, but the underlying numbers paint a similar picture. Nelson had a 5.30 xFIP, 5.24 SIERA, and 125 DRA-,
all three of which were near carbon copies of Henry’s. Nelson also has better stuff in comparison to Henry. Stuff+ put Nelson at 102 while Henry was at 83.

Although Nelson struggled last year, I definitely think he has the potential to breakout in the future. He’s not too old and deserves a second shot. He will definitely be in consideration for the final rotation spot for the Diamondbacks heading into Spring Training.