I asked Brandon Nimmo if he had a few minutes to spare at some point before the game against the Hudson Valley Renegades on Sunday. He said, “when?” I said, “you tell me, anytime your available.” He turned around and caught the eye of his hitting coach Bobby Malek who simply nodded, and Nimmo turned back to me and said, “I have time now.” Here’s the rest of what transpired:
Petey: I’m talking to Brandon Nimmo. It’s July 1st, 2012, it’s hot as heck out here in Wappingers Falls, New York, at “The Dutch,” Dutchess Stadium. Brandon last night man, a really exciting game, a big win for you guys over Aberdeen. And you were the turning point, with your game-winning grand-slam in the seventh inning, can you tell us a little bit about the at-bat?
Brandon: Well you know I just went up there and trying to be aggressive. My teammates put me in a great position. Nelfi and Sabol and the guys in front of me they really had great at-bats, drew two walks, and of course Phil starting the inning off right with a ball off the wall. Everything leading up to that was good at-bats so I got to see pitches. And then I went up there and tried to to think about just being aggressive, and maybe gettin’ after a pitch. I just reacted and great things happened. It was great for that to happen but I refer to my teammates and thank God for allowing me to be in that opportunity and allowing me to capitalize on it. It’s a great feeling, I mean your just floating around the bases when it happens. And like you said the really great thing about it was it turned the game in our favor and we never looked back. I think that was the big thing, it got us a series win, and anything I can do to help the team win, I’m all for it.
Petey: Awesome. I didn’t get to watch the game, what pitch in the count was it that you hit?
Brandon: First pitch.
Petey: Was it a fastball?
Brandon: Splitter, down and in.
Petey: Guess it didn’t split too much.
Brandon: I guess it hung there a little bit.
Petey: How did you hit it? Because hitting them out to right field in Brooklyn is very difficult.
Brandon: Yeah, it was on the lower inside part of the plate and I just dropped the barrel on it. It was pretty much a line drive, because there’s the stands out there and then the more it gets up over that, the more the wind can come into play on it. Luckily last night, was a very warm night the ball was flying well, and at that point in the game the wind had really stopped. So it happened to be at the right time, the right moment. You know a lot of things came together to make that possible. So it never really got much higher than the stands, but it was a line drive and got out of there quickly. And that’s the only way, I think, that I’ve seen a ball get out of there, a line drive.
Petey: What’s your comfort level now, I mean I know you can’t be comfortable, but now that you’ve been with Brooklyn a few weeks, what do you think of the New York Penn League?
Brandon: Everyday is getting better. But just because I had a good night last night doesn’t mean I’m out of the slump that I’m going through. We still have to stay on top of it and keep working and keep getting more comfortable because this is a tough league and the comfort level, I’m not all the way comfortable with it yet but we’re getting there. Everyday you play a little more, the game slows down a little bit more. Things you go through quicker in your mind and situations come up that you just know what to do, when to do it, what your looking for. And so I just need to keep playing, and keep getting more comfortable. Obviously I’m more comfortable than the first game. Came in there with a lot of nerves, and now I can play the game, think about what I’m going to do, it’s a little more natural now.
Petey: More settled?
Brandon: Yeah exactly. Still have a lot of things to work on so you can never get too comfortable.
Petey: You mentioned before Stefan Sabol, this year’s 17th round pick.
Petey: He’s a big guy hits the ball really hard, can you tell me a little bit about him?
Brandon: Yes, Stefan’s a great guy off the field, on the field, great character. Like you said, big strong guy swings the bat well with a lot of power, hits the ball hard when he hits it. He’s got a good approach going up to the plate. He knows what he’s good at and he goes and he tries to capitalize on that. He’s been hitting well with two strikes too. He’s just an all-around good hitter. I’m glad to have him in our line-up, he starts a lot of rally’s, he finishes a lot of rally’s. It’s great to have a hitter like that on your team, right in the middle.
Petey: He slipped into the Mets system a little bit under the radar, with the influx of all the new players after the draft, but give him a little time and Mets fans are going to start to notice this guy and what he’s doing.
Brandon: Oh yeah, he’s fun to watch he’s great in the outfield too. He’s already made two catches diving into the wall.
Petey: I wonder how the wall felt after that.
Brandon: (laughing) Something about the roar of the fans afterwards makes it better, but he’s a great player and I think they’ll love watching him play.
Petey: And of course another guy who like you is in his first full season with the organization, Phil Evans, he must be a lot of fun to play with.
Brandon: Yeah he’s a great kid, on the field off the field, you know. Just a funny guy to be around, lightens up the mood, but is a fierce competitor on the field. Knows how to turn the switch off and on. He’s great to be around, I love playing with him. He’s a fireball and he gets after it on the field. He’s hitting really well, he’s raking the ball, fielding well, making major league plays. He made a play up the middle I think it was two days ago, that I could not believe. He’s just so much fun to play with and a great guy. I’m just really excited, you can go up and down our line-up and you got great guys. And the thing is some of us aren’t playing our best either. What’s great about our team is if a guy’s off one day, another guys picking him up. That’s the great thing about our team right now and when you can do that in baseball, you can win. As your seeing. So hopefully we can just keep that going and maybe at some point we’ll all get hot, and we can win quite a few ball games.
Petey: The last two years in a row now the Brooklyn Cyclones have gone deep into the play-offs, and almost brought home the championship only to come up a little short at the end. Hopefully this year that will change.
Brandon: It would be nice to get over the hump. It’s obviously the goal in all of our minds to win the championship. And we’re all going to work as hard as we can to get there.
I want to thank Brandon for taking the time out to do this interview for all of us here at MMO. His answers were fascinating I thought, and his points were complete and very well made. I am looking forward to talking to him more in the future, and bringing to MMO, more of his insights and observations as he advances through the minor league system on his way to CitiField.