9. Brandon Nimmo, OF
Weight: 185 lbs.
Like Cecchini, Brandon Nimmo was a first round draft pick that not everyone was thrilled about. However, in this case it was not about his lack of ceiling because he has plenty of that. Nimmo drew some criticism as the thirteenth overall pick of the 2011 draft because he did not play on a high school baseball team and because of that, it would take much development for him to reach his potential. Nimmo’s lack of experience should not undermine his potential in the slightest because he rates at least average in each of the five tools that scouts look at. Even though his solid average speed, arm, and fielding ability may limit him to a corner outfield spot rather than center field, he has the potential to hit for both average and power so he should still profile nicely there.
Last season in Savannah, Nimmo slashed .273/.397/.359 with only 2 home runs and a concerning 131 K’s in 394 AB’s. It’s worth noting, however, that Savannah is a terrible place for left handed power hitters and Nimmo suffered a hand injury in late April. His plate discipline stands out though, which shows promise in both his ability to hit for average and reach base as he gains more professional experience.
The strikeouts may always be present for Brandon because he is so patient but you’d have to think he can significantly cut down on that current rate as he becomes more accustomed to talented pitching. Some scouts think he may only be a 15 home run type player but as his 6’3” frame fills out, I don’t see why he can’t hit 20-25 HR’s a season, maybe even more. With his impressive ability to reach base, his solid average speed could even allow him to add stolen bases to his game as well.
Outlook: It is clear that Nimmo’s tools are still quite raw but that’s more than understandable considering he had only played American Legion baseball before he was drafted. He may need more time than your traditional first round pick to develop but if the potential of his current tools are maximized, then the wait will be well worth it; a five-tool player. We already know Nimmo will have no trouble reaching base. The real question lies on how far his hit tool can develop. As of right now, he strikes out way too often to be a major league regular. I think that has more to do with his lack of experience than anything. As his ability to recognize pitches improves, he should be able to cut down on his strikeouts and drive the ball to the gaps. His power and ability to hit for average should also improve as he gains experience and strength. Nimmo will probably start the year in St. Lucie and now that he has a full season of professional baseball under his belt, is 100% healthy, and not playing in Savannah any longer, this is a huge season for him to prove his worth. The pressure from the fan base and organization will be on his shoulders to improve on last season’s performance. If he doesn’t, it will cause more fans and scouts to label him a bust. If he does, then expect him to shoot up top prospect lists in a hurry.
24. Juan Centeno, C
20. Luis Mateo, RHP
19. Jayce Boyd, 1B
16. Vic Black, RHP
12. Jake deGrom, RHP
10. Steven Matz, LHP