With all the excitement of the Cubs’ current roster moves and signings, it’s sometimes hard to forget that the minor leagues have a significant role in the player development side of the game.
Notably, the Cubs have signed first baseman Brad Nelson to a minor league contract.
The 30 year old (today is actually his birthday, so Brad, if you’re reading this, happy birthday buddy!) embodies the idea of a power first baseman with potential placement in the outfield. He was also a top 50 overall prospect in 2003 and 2004, but that’s worth very little at this time.
Nelson was a strong performer in his youth but has since floundered a little bit posting a .279/.364/.488 for the Texas Rangers AAA affiliate in the Pacific Coast League. In most circumstances, these numbers would be considered pretty good but the PCL is known for being a hitter’s paradise which inflates batting metrics like crazy so the lack of inflation leads me to believe that Nelson is so-so at the plate. In retrospect, his fielding is solid posting a .996 FLD% and is known for having a good dig at the bag when needed.
He’ll likely spend most of his time in AAA Iowa for the Cubs and could even see playing time in the bigs if Anthony Rizzo were ever to be injured or sick.
All in all, a solid signing that the Cubs can be happy about – but don’t expect a Bryan LaHair type story to emerge from this one.