MMO Mailbag: What’s The Deal With Brandon Nimmo?

Metscentric asks…

What is the deal with Brandon Nimmo? Can he hit and by hit I mean hit for average? He strikes out in droves and wasn’t even ranked in the top ten prospects of the NY Penn League by Baseball America. Jose Fernandez who was selected right after the Mets took Nimmo is one of the top three prospects in baseball and the minors’ top pitching prospect. Baseball America just ranked him #1 prospect in two different minor league levels for 2012. So far Nimmo has shown a propensity to draw walks, but he has 92 Ks in 300 at-bats. 50 players in the NYPL batted higher than he did. I don’t see anything to get excited about here and that hole in his swing is worrisome.

Sean replies…

This answer is going to involves two parts, one on what he has currently done and shown, and projection based on his brief MiLB career.

Brandon Nimmo had his first full season of MiLB ball with the Cyclones and was exploited primarily against lefties to the tune of a low batting average. For some context, he is the seven months younger than Royals prospect Bubba Starling, played at a higher level and overall showed much more promise and projection. Nimmo was second in the NYPL in walks with 46, and the person above him is four years his senior and only had five more walks. Nimmo has speed, but hasn’t fully capitalized on running routes in the OF or stealing bases, but with experience both should improve although inevitably he should wind up at a corner OF spot.

Projection wise, Nimmo had 28 of his 66 hits go for extra bases. Nimmo was fourth in the NYPL in doubles with 20, and as pitch recognition improves, those doubles become home runs. The batting average right now isn’t a concern, especially considering the sample size of  304 career AB’s. Pitchers will always get the benefit of the doubt based on velocity and domination, especially at the lower levels. Nimmo is going to be a project, but hitting 42% of your hits for extra bases shows gap-power, which is what was expected from Nimmo.

At this point, making a decision on whether he is boom or bust is way too early. With about one-fifth of the AB’s most MiLB players obtain (1500) to legitimize statistics, anything is possible. He isn’t on the Mets radar until earliest 2015.