Brandon Nimmo won over the hearts of Mets fans with his giant smile and puppy like energy in 2017. A small positive for an otherwise disappointing season.
The outfielder had a good year at the dish too. In 69 games, he hit .260/.379/.418 with a 117 wRC+ while drawing a whopping 33 walks in 215 plate appearances.
However, Nimmo was more of an afterthought coming into the season. It wasn’t until after the team was decimated with injuries and Jay Bruce and Curtis Granderson were traded that Nimmo really got a chance to play everyday and show his skills.
After being drafted in 2011 out of high school in Cheyenne, Wyoming, he finally put his skill set into motion at the big league level, demonstrating his fantastic plate discipline that was appealing to the Mets from the onset.
But what’s the role on the 2018 team for Nimmo?
Well for starters, the Mets no longer have a logjam of outfielders like they once did. As it looks right now, Yoenis Cespedes, Juan Lagares and Nimmo are the only locks to be ready for opening day. Michael Conforto will return at some point, but as of now, it’s not certain when.
Nimmo’s fielding was not up to snuff, but a platoon for the long haul with Lagares could make sense once Conforto returns.
Lagares is a tremendous fielder, but has struggled at the plate, getting on base at only a .296 clip. However, he did have a 1.8 WAR, which shows how good he was in the field.
Bringing back someone like Jay Bruce, while highly unlikely, would be a big boost to the middle of the order. However, with more important needs elsewhere, the Mets could bring in a free agent like Jarrod Dyson to round out the outfield.
Nimmo, however, was better in right field defensively than he was in center, posting a 0.3 UZR compared to a -0.7.
If he starts to begin the season, an outfield combination of Cespedes, Lagares and Nimmo from left to right would be likely be the most optimal for the team.
When Conforto does return though, a platoon of Nimmo and Lagares in center would make for a strong tandem. Nimmo’s only problem is that he posted just a 51 wRC+ against left-handed pitching, so he would need to start against righties.
Still at 24-years-old though, Nimmo showed this season that his floor is as a serviceable outfielder and his ceiling is as a strong leadoff hitter with his high on-base percentage.