Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes that when the Mets made their pick in the 2011 June amateur draft, they chose Brandon Nimmo with the 13th overall pick, which is a valuable slot that comes with inherent pressure and expectations.
The Miami Marlins on the other hand, with the 14th pick, chose pitcher Jose Fernandez, and the difference between the two players was that Fernandez has soared to the majors and prior to his recent Tommy John Surgery, he was a Cy Young contender in just two years.
Nimmo, has taken a slower route to the majors, and even though he is only in Advanced-A St. Lucie three years from when the Mets drafted him, he has now begun to showcase the skills that the organization hoped he would develop and capitalize on.
When asked about not choosing Jose Fernandez, Assistant general manager John Ricco tells Diamond, ”we were looking for at that point a young position-player talent.”
“It’s human nature—you want to have the best player in every draft no matter where you pick,” Ricco said. “But the reality is we got a pretty good player.”
Ricco said that the front office does expect Nimmo to play a full season at every level, which would suggest that he could make his major-league debut sometime in 2016, unless Nimmo keeps playing the way he has, Ricco acknowledged, “He may force our hand. He may jump here quicker than we expected.”
While it is unsure how good Nimmo will actually be, it is encouraging that he has so far shown that he is an extremely talented prospect that has the athleticism and amazing plate discipline to become an impact major league player.
He is currently batting .335/.471/.455, with 43 walks in 167 at bats, and even though he is not showcasing the power that scouts were impressed with, he is proving that he is able to translate his skills into results. By the way, they 47 walks are the best in all of minor league baseball.
Nimmo may not have jumped through the ranks as quickly as Fernandez did, but he is proving that the Mets did not make a mistake by picking him first and he hopes for the day when he can match up with the pitching phenom, ”I hope we have many battles in big situations over the next 20 years,” says Nimmo.
Slow and steady often wins the race.