#8 OF Brandon Nimmo
Ht: 6’3″ Wt: 205 B/T: L/R Age: 03/27/1993 (23)
2016 Level: MLB New York Mets, Triple-A Las Vegas 51s
Acquired: Drafted in 1st round of 2011 draft (13th overall)
Last Year: #5
MLB Statistics: 32 G, 73 AB, 12 R, 20 H, 2B, HR, 6 RBI, 6 BB/20 SO, .274/.338/.329
MiLB Statistics: 97 G, 392 AB, 72 R, 138 H, 25 2B, 8 3B, 11 HR, 61 RBI, 46 BB/73 SO, 7 SB, 8 CS, .352/.423/.541
The 2016 season was a big year for the happy-go-lucky Brandon Nimmo, who put together a terrific season for the Triple-A Las Vegas 51s, where he finished second behind teammate T.J. Rivera for the PCL batting title, and also made his major league debut with the Mets on June 26 in Atlanta. His ear-to-ear smile and passionate play sparked a depleted Mets squad during the summer months of the season, offering his versatility in all three outfield spots while coming through with some clutch pinch-hitting opportunities late in the year.
Nimmo was the first draft choice selected by then first-year Mets’ General Manager, Sandy Alderson back in 2011. Nimmo was a rather unconventional pick, an 18-year-old out of Cheyenne, Wyo., who didn’t play high school baseball due to Wyoming being one of three states that doesn’t offer organized school baseball programs.
However, Nimmo possessed several traits that Alderson and the Mets front office were intrigued by; his patience at the plate, athletic build, and versatility to play all three outfield positions. While Nimmo’s high OBP translated immediately to the Mets system, he wasn’t generating much extra-base power, while striking out at a high propensity during his first few seasons in the minors.
Nimmo seemed to finally put it together in 2014, particularly with Single-A St. Lucie, where he posted a .322/.448/.458 slash line, with 73 hits in just 62 games. That level of production didn’t last upon his promotion to Double-A Binghamton though, as he saw a big drop off in OBP (.448 to .339), and saw his OPS drop 171 points to .735. His strong production in the first half of that year with St. Lucie saved Nimmo’s overall numbers, as he still maintained a respectful .820 OPS in 127 combined games.
Injuries derailed much of Nimmo’s 2015 season, as he only played in 104 games between Triple-A Las Vegas, Binghamton, and St. Lucie. He produced another pedestrian line that year minus another strong on-base showing of .362, leaving fans to wonder whether Nimmo would ever live up to the type of potential suited for a 13th overall pick in the draft.
A slow start to 2016 in the Pacific Coast League looked ominous for Nimmo, however, as the weather warmed up Nimmo’s bat came alive to the tune of a .986 OPS in May, 1.071 OPS in June, and a 1.125 OPS in August.
In 2016, Nimmo set career highs in batting average (.352), slugging (.541), home runs (11), RBI (61), hits (138), and doubles (25). Part of this is due to the rather favorable hitting conditions the PCL offers with the higher altitude and drier air, however, Nimmo impressed not just with his fancy stat line but with tremendous splits as well. Nimmo tore up lefty pitching in Vegas to the tune of a .358/.425/.567 line, with four home runs and 18 RBI in 120 at-bats.
With an outfield consisting of Yoenis Cespedes, Michael Conforto, Curtis Granderson, Juan Lagares, and the Voldermort like “he who must not be named” Jay Bruce (for now), Nimmo looks like a candidate to begin the season in Triple A once again, where he can get regular at-bats. Nimmo is likely best suited for one of the corner outfield positions as he’s lost a step or two due to lower body injuries and filling out a bit since the draft.
Though he hasn’t turned into the potential five tool talent some scouts and talent evaluators predicted, his patience at the plate (including an impressive 4.36 pitches per plate appearance in the majors last season) quick wrists and bat speed, and strong OBP could translate into a solid fourth outfielder or platoon player for the Mets. However, if he can continue to show improvements in the power department, the patience the Mets have kept since drafting him might pay off into an everyday starting outfielder as soon as 2018.