We all know that giving up home runs is bad. In fact, it's the worst thing a pitcher can do(who knew?). So far this spring only two pitchers have given up more home runs than Joe Nelson's 4, and they're both starters. In fact, out of the 11 pitchers who have allowed 4+ home runs Nelson has the lowest number of innings pitched at 2.2.
Should we as fans, and the Rays as an organization, be worried about the newly acquired reliever and the long ball? The answer is no.
Nelson's 0.83 HR/9 last season ranked him ahead of relievers like Carlos Marmol, Brandon Lyron, Frank Francisco, Rafael Perez, Juan Cruz and teammate Brian Shouse to name a few. It's not likely to remain that low, but should settle somewhere between that and his 2006 HR/9 of 1.01.
If we look at Nelson's FB% over the last three seasons, which is roughly 40%, and compare it with other relievers in baseball we see his closest comparions are K-Rod, David Riske, Mike Timlin, Rudy Seanez, Scott Linebrinks, Ramon Ramirez and Alan Embree. From there we can look at each player's HR/FB% and see where Nelson stacks up.
It looks like Nelson would fall in the middle of that group, which isn't half bad. He has the second best K/9 out of that group behind K-Rod. Since high K relievers generally have high FB tendencies that makes him look even better. So dispite a rocky spring start in a Rays uniform, look for Nelson to settle down and keep the amount of balls he lets over the fence to a mininum.