It’s been an up-and-down season for 2011 MLB draft first round pick, Brandon Nimmo. His first full season of professional ball came in 2012 with the Brooklyn Cyclones, where he amassed a .248/.372/.406 line with six homers, 20 doubles, and 40 RBIs in 266 at-bats at Coney Island. With another year of experience under his belt, he was primed to take Savannah by storm in Low-A with the Sand Gnats.
He did just that in 90 April at-bats, putting together a solid .322/.421/.433 line, including five hits for extra bases (one double, three triples, one home run) and 11 RBIs. Once the calendar flipped to May, things started to go down hill. First, it was the injury bug; then hand and back problems prevented him from getting on the field virtually the entire month, only collecting 16 at-bats. June and July have also given him a tough time, hitting .250 and .222 in those months, respectively. He’s not expected to be a home run threat, but when your on-base percentage is higher than your slugging percentage, that usually means you’re having a tough time in the power department.
As a 20-year-old, Nimmo is certainly going through some growing pains this season and is learning a lot about himself. He earned the honor of winning the final vote to be a part of the MLB Futures Game on July 14th. It must have been a wonderful experience to be playing at Citi Field and joining fellow prospects Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero. Unfortunately, that experience didn’t get his bat going once he returned to Savannah, as he was still striking out at a high rate.
Over the last week and a half, it seems as though Nimmo has started to turn a corner and inch his way back to how he was performing in April. He’s hitting .261/.370/.350 on the season, but has put together a .297 mark in his last ten games, and has been minimizing his strikeouts over his last four. Nimmo had got into a bad habit of striking out at least once a game for a good amount of time. He’s starting to break that trend and combining it with more walks (four walks and two strikeouts in last four games).
What’s more encouraging is the emergence of doubles. From July 20th to July 27th, Nimmo collected at least one hit in five of the six games he played, including two multi-hit games, but they were all singles. Seeing that perked me up; I felt as though he was nearing the end of his funk. He was focusing more on making consistent contact and getting base hits. Now, he’s collected three hits in his last two games, with two of them being doubles. He’s laid the foundation with singles, and is starting to get his gap power back. He only has one home run this season, but with 10 doubles and six triples, he’s shown the ability to have some power to right and left center field. As long as he’s able to continue showing that through the end of 2013, I’ll feel like he’s taken another step forward.
Is Nimmo progressing a little slower than fans would like? Yes, absolutely. However, it’s tough to tell how long it will take a player to develop in the grind that is minor league baseball. Sometimes it’s very quick, other times it isn’t. It hasn’t been mentioned often, but maybe that wrist/hand injury he suffered in May messed with his swing, and it’s taken him a while to get the strength in that left hand back to where it was in April. I’m not trying to make excuses for him, but strong hands and wrists are important in the batter’s box.
For now, let’s hope Nimmo has turned a corner and will start to flash the ability he showed fans back in April.