So who still wants to rag on Sandy Alderson for not wanting to trade Brandon Nimmo for Josh Harrison or Andrew McCutchen over the Winter? That’s not to suggest that Sandy is walking on water, he has his flaws, but he unfairly had to take a whole lot of flak this offseason over his decision to hold on as tightly as he did to Brandon Nimmo.
And now, after a dominant spring training performance that saw him lead the team in batting, extra-base hits, runs scored, RBIs and OPS, Nimmo hit the ground running by getting on base four times while batting leadoff in the Mets’ 9-4 win on Opening Day. Nimmo finished 2-for-3 with a walk, a hit-by-pitch and two runs scored, and his only out was a blistering line drive to deep center that only a great play kept it from being a double.
Furthermore, Nimmo’s resurgence now has all the same talking heads on MLB Network and SNY that killed Sandy for hanging onto Nimmo, now stepping up their attacks for not having him continue to play everyday once Michael Conforto is activated from the DL sometime around April 5. Do these guys ever stop complaining about anything? The New York media has always been tough on players and management, but these days they’ve gone from tough to embarrassingly ridiculous.
As far as Nimmo goes and his playing time going forward, let me remind you that most fourth outfielders will wind up with at least 400 at-bats in any given season. But given the Mets’ specific circumstances, Nimmo will probably get close to 500 at-bats when you consider that Mickey Callaway will want to keep his veteran outfielders Jay Bruce and Yoenis Cespedes fresh this season, plus I doubt they’re just going to throw Conforto out there everyday as he continues to heal his shoulder. And I can see Nimmo playing right field whenever Bruce spells Adrian Gonzalez at first base. So everyone please calm down.
And speaking of Gonzalez, that was another offseason move that many killed Alderson for, and after a rough start in spring training, those talking heads were doing a lot of squawking. But once again, time was kind to Sandy as A-Gon finished his Grapefruit League season with a strong flourish, and he busted out on Opening Day with two hits, two walks, a double, RBI and run scored while making a pair of nifty plays at first base.
Sometimes things just have a way of working themselves out.
And kudos to Nimmo for being the adult in the room when he was cornered at his locker after the game and was asked how he felt about heading to the bench when Conforto returns.
“It’s the same mentality as last year when I got that opportunity is just have fun, go prepare the best that you can and work hard,” the former first-rounder said. “And then when you get out there, just play. Have fun. Trust your instincts. Analyze the game. Know the situations.”
Nimmo speaks like he’s been a major leaguer for over a decade, he really has it all together when it comes to baseball smarts and I’m excited for this kid’s future. So is his teammate Jay Bruce.
“Nimmo just continues to get better,” Bruce said. “He’s a guy who continues to put together a quality at-bat over and over and over, and that’s impressive. It takes focus. It takes trust in the strike zone. It takes strike-zone judgment and it’s something he takes a lot of pride in. He’s at the point now where he’s ready to make an impact.”
That’s some high praise for a kid who learned how to hit by taking batting practice in his dad’s barn in Wyoming.