I’m not sure about any of you, but I believe but Tomas Nido has been one of the biggest Mets surprises on the farm in the 2016 season. Drafted out of Orangewood Christian School in the 8th round of the 2012 Draft, Tomas Nido was known for his power, and was the battery mate on his travel team with now-major leaguer Robert Whalen (I can’t stop saying this, I’m too proud).
At draft time, his scouting report from Baseball America went like this:
Nido isn’t quite a one-tool player; the Florida State signee has average arm strength. But his calling card is plus-plus raw power, as he has strength and takes a big, powerful swing, generating above-average bat speed. He’s a slow-twitch athlete, and it may be a stretch for him to stay behind the plate. He has a tendency to sell out for power, even though he doesn’t need to with his strength. Nido had late helium and was doing some individual workouts for teams, and if he puts on a power display with wood, he could be drafted highly.
Baseball America was very correct on him selling out for power, which wasn’t a very wise approach, slashing a .246/.286/.336 in his first 218 games with 32 doubles, 2 triples, and 10 homers, and having to play in Brooklyn in both his age 19 and 20 years. In addition, his catching was not very good to start, so he needed to work on that, especially with the arm strength that started out as just average as the above scouting report notes. The underwhelming performance offensively and defensively caused many to lose faith in him as he entered his age-22 year in St. Lucie.
Michael Mayer and I disagreed on whether to add Nido to our Top 80 prospects, I wanted him on, while he wanted him off. I won, and we placed him at No. 74, citing his ceiling, though he had underwhelmed so far. Apparently I wasn’t alone, as MLB’s Jonathan Mayo and Mets Farm Director Ian Levin both stated they were high on him, citing a strong showing in spring training. Now even with a strong spring training a player can underwhelm, such as Angel Manzanarez has, so it means barely anything. However, Nido didn’t stop clubbing after joining High-A St. Lucie.
This year in his age 22 season, Nido is hitting .320/.351/.470 in High-A with 7 homers and 22 doubles. He has set career highs in hits and home runs, and a career low with a 11.9% strikeout percentage, 11.9%, a significant drop-off from last year’s 25.7%. The Florida State League, which he leads in batting average, is notoriously known for being harsh on offense.
Also, on defense, Nido has gone above and beyond, throwing out an excellent 40% of base runners and being a smooth receiver behind the dish. It looks like Nido has turned a corner, and has impressed many, including Baseball Prospectus, who wrote this updated scouting report about him. (FYI, the scale is a 20-80 sliding scale, and they vary in what they indicate, but usually a 50 is above average.)
A report like that is very encouraging, especially since it projects a pretty above-average catcher offensively and defensively, and this coming from an outlet that pulls no punches. So take that for what it’s worth.
Nido abandoned selling out for power and instead opted for contact and trusting his natural strength. His isolated slugging is up to .150, which was .060 up from his previous four year average, and climbing. With his natural power, it may get better as he develops and possibly evolve into 15+ homers, which is superlative for a catcher.
Should Nido continue down this road and hit well in Binghamton, watch his stock rise as he works himself onto the Mets radar. The front office will have a big decision to make as they may have to protect Nido from this upcoming Rule 5 draft. I’m sure the team will also consider sending Nido to the Arizona Fall League, come October.