Nelson reflects on time with 'Baby Brewers'

Nelson reflects on time with 'Baby Brewers'

MILWAUKEE -- While the big league Brewers continued the season's final homestand, the "Baby Brewers" played for the Pioneer League Championship in Helena, Mont.

Three years ago, right-hander Jimmy Nelson was a Helena Brewer, closing a long season that began at the University of Alabama and ended with Nelson winning a ring. The 2010 Helena club, which also included Tyler Thornburg, beat Ogden in the championship round.

"When you're a young guy like that, it's pretty cool; it gives you a lot of confidence," Nelson said. "It shows how quick guys, even though they don't know each other, can come together as a team. You learn to bond with guys real quick, and it shows talent."

Tuesday's starter for Helena was right-hander Barrett Astin, Milwaukee's third-round Draft pick this year out of Arkansas. In 2010, Nelson was the Brewers' second-round pick out of Alabama. Helena lost Tuesday's game, 6-0.

Nelson remembers feeling gassed by the time that season came to an end.

"I essentially played from February to the end of September," he said. "That's a long time. But going into a full season after that, whether it's Low A or High A, it makes it easier. I went to [Class A] Wisconsin after that, and I had no problem getting through a full season. … It's kind of like a 'throw you in the deep end' type of thing. You learn how to swim quick. It's a good experience."

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. Kevin Massoth is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.