Brandon Nimmo, OF
Player Data: Age: 24, B/T: L/R, Free Agency: 2023
2017 Primary Stats: 69 G, 215 PA, 5 HR, 33 BB, 21 RBI, 2 SB, .260/.379/.418
Advanced: 117 wRC+, .348 wOBA, .360 BABIP, .158 ISO. 15.3% BB%, 27.9% K%
Taken as the 13th overall pich in the 2011 draft, Brandon Nimmo is not the typical first round draft pick. Selected one spot ahead of the late Jose Fernandez, a lot was expected of the high-school senior. Although he didn’t arrive at the Majors until 2016, he carved out a nice little niche in the Mets outfield in 2017.
After a brief cup-of-coffee in 2016, he was given ample playing time in 2017. Nimmo started this season playing for Team Italy in the World Baseball Classic, participating in the incredible comeback against Team Mexico and their All-Star closer, Roberto Osuna.
Unfortunately, he strained his hamstring later in the series, which decimated his chances of earning an Opening Day roster spot. After hitting .227/.364/.368 in his third stint with Vegas, he was given a second chance at the Major League level. Due to an injury-plagued outfield, he was called up from the 51s on June 16 to replace center fielder, Juan Lagares.
He had a few memorable moments in the Orange and Blue. On Sept. 7, he had his best game of the season, hitting two home runs and scoring three runs in a 7-2 win against the Cincinnati Reds. However, he was not one of the two lucky Mets to escape injury this season, as he landed on the DL on July 8 with a collapsed lung. Yet, when he returned from his unexplainable injury, he came back stronger than ever, finishing with a 114 wRC+ in his final 54 games.
Due to his boyish charm and magnificent smile, Nimmo quickly became a fan favorite. In 69 games, he hit .260/.379/.418 with 11 doubles and five home runs, finishing 2017 with a 117 wRC+. His forte was his unbelievable ability to get on base.
His improvement over 2016 can be chalked up to hitting more line drives. He increased his line drive percentage to 24.4%. His fly-ball percentage also skyrocketed to 32.8%, while he decreased his ground-ball percentage to 42.9%. Nimmo shined at Citi Field this season, having a .304/.387/.532 slash line in front of the hometown fans.
In the 2017 season, he excelled at his plate discipline, finishing on the top of MLB leaderboards in both chase Rate and his walk percentage. This is nothing new for the 24-year-old, who in 2017, posted a 16.7 BB% in AAA. While playing for the Mets, he walked 15.3% of his plate appearances, which if he qualified, would have finished fifth in the majors. He only chased 6.7% of pitches, which would also have been among the MLB leaders if he had enough plate appearances.
Although he played every outfield position, his defense was average this year. He finished with two assists and a -2 DRS rating. According to MLB.com, Nimmo finished with two Outs Above Average, which was 49th among outfielders.
Nimmo’s success was driven by his .360 BABIP, a mark that will not be sustainable in 2018. He struggled against lefties, only hitting .190/.292/.238 with a 51 wRC+. Especially troubling is his strikeout percentage. As someone who profiles as a top-of-the-order hitter, a strikeout rate of 27.9% is unacceptable. Finally, he hit .224/.372/.327 on the road. His lack of speed and his unspectacular defense may force his role in 2018 to be nothing more than a platoon outfielder.
Did You Know:
Brandon, along with former catcher John Buck, are the only Mets players from Wyoming.
According to Sprint Speed (MLB.com’s new metric that measures how much feet per second a player covers while he is sprinting), Brandon Nimmo was the second fastest Met in 2017, only finishing behind Amed Rosario. He ended 2017 ranked 11th among left fielders and 60th in all of the MLB in this stat.
So far, the Mets have only two starting outfielders on their 2018 roster. Michael Conforto and Yoenis Cespedes both come with injury concerns, making it almost a certainty that Nimmo will have a 2018 Opening Day roster spot. If the Mets do not acquire another outfielder, he could start Opening Day and split time with Juan Lagares if Conforto returns to full health.