There’s no way around it — the 2018 regular season has been a banner year for New York Mets outfielder Brandon Nimmo.
He seemingly entered the year without a regular job on the big-league roster thanks to the presence of guys like Michael Conforto, Yoenis Cespedes, and Juan Lagares, along with the team re-signing Jay Bruce to a three-year deal. But of course, injuries forced manager Mickey Callaway to keep inserting him into the every-day lineup, and things have worked out quite nicely.
Nimmo is entering Thursday’s action with a .259/.401/.481 triple slash, 17 home runs, 47 RBI, and 77 runs scored through 524 plate appearances. Those numbers have helped produce a 147 wRC+ and 4.4 fWAR, both of which are among baseball’s top-30 hitters qualified for the batting title.
As one can imagine with numbers like this, the 25-year-old has been a productive hitter in quite a few different situations during the season. The below tweet gave us something else where Nimmo finds himself among the the best in baseball, though: his performance against potential playoff teams.
Highest OPS vs teams currently in the playoffs: pic.twitter.com/Zg4XKtQEhJ
— Jeremy Frank (@MLBRandomStats) September 25, 2018
At the time this was tweeted, he literally had the highest OPS in baseball against teams headed for October. The same guy who didn’t appear to have a starting job at the start of this season. Baseball, man.
A couple of hitless games against the Atlanta Braves has dropped his triple slash in this situation to .296/.440/.629, but he’s still toward the top of this particular leaderboard if the measurement is still OPS (he’s second with a 1.069 mark). How exactly has he accomplished something like this? As is usually the case whenever we talk about Nimmo, his incredibly consistent plate discipline likely has been a big reason why.
The ability to stay committed to his approach no matter what is a dream come true for any hitting coach. All this also got me thinking about other situations the young outfielder has found himself in at the plate, and there are virtually no weak spots for him this year when wRC+ is the statistic of choice.
When looking at his month-by-month production, the only one that fell below 100 was July, which settled in at 96. Every other month has been at least 130 or above. The same can be said about his performance at Citi Field (134 wRC+) and on the road (158). His splits against left-handed (112) and right-handed pitching (162) are a little more drastic, but still far from a detriment to the Mets’ every-day lineup.
It hasn’t mattered what position he’s played, either — whether we’re talking about the literal position on the field or place in the batting order. He’s spent significant time in left field (204 wRC+), center field (109), and right field (139), all leading to above-average offensive production. The only lineup position in the order Callaway hasn’t penciled him into is the clean-up spot. He’s been everywhere else, and has posted a wRC+ of at least 100 in each situation.
The results also barely change when looking at each particular pitch count. Nimmo has been an above-average hitter in every single count this season, except for 1-2 and 0-2 counts. And even in those situations, his wRC+ is still above 90.
This is all basically a really long way of saying that Brandon Nimmo is pretty good at the baseball stuff. The approach he’s honed throughout his minor-league and short big-league tenure has set him up for success. The sign of a good hitter isn’t necessarily what he can do when everything is going right — it’s what he can do when nothing seems to be falling for base hits.
Minimizing the valleys is probably more important than maximizing peaks in production, which is exactly what Nimmo has been able to accomplish this season.