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New York Mets outfield prospect Brandon Nimmo shot up many experts’ draft rankings with his performance in the first half of the year. The 2011 first-round draft pick played neither high school nor college ball, and was scouted based on his American Legion baseball numbers, as well as his appearances in a few national All-Star games. Now in his fourth professional season, Nimmo is a name Mets fans should begin to familiarize themselves with.
Brandon Nimmo played his entire 2013 season at Single-A Savannah, in a relatively strong pitching environment. The power never really surfaced the way it had in Brooklyn the year before, where Nimmo had 28 extra-base hits in only 266 at-bats. However, he put to good use his most outstanding skill: his ability to get on base. That trait has carried forward to this year, while the young outfielder has simultaneously sculpted his power stroke.
Th 2014 began with Nimmo at High-A St. Lucie. He walked 50 times in just 62 games, only one of which was an intentional walk. That batting eye has allowed the young player to maintain a high-300’s on-base percentage, even with an unimpressive batting average. Most impressively, Nimmo still leads the Florida State League in walks, despite having been promoted to Double-A over a month ago.
While Double-A Binghampton has been far less kind to the young man than Single-A was, Nimmo’s walk rate has seen only a very slight dip. His batting average has suffered, but he has also managed to maintain just about the same extra-base hit rate that he has shown since leaving Savannah. Players typically need a period of adjustment as they move level to level, and so Nimmo must be granted some leeway.
He began his stint in Binghampton with a 1-20 stretch, which he finally broke with a home run. While his batting line has not been pretty, Nimmo is still a very productive player. Even including that especially rough start, he has reached base safely in 27 of 29 games played in Double-A. He has reached base multiple times in 11 of those games. Brandon Nimmo does not have sky high power potential, or anywhere near an 80-grade hit tool, but he gets on base.
While he was drafted a centerfielder, he will probably not be there much in the majors, because his speed is average. This season, he has played almost an equal number of innings in center field and left field. Even as a corner outfielder, Nimmo has tons of potential value at the major league level. The Mets are dying for some left field production, where they have the third worst batting average and OPS in the majors.
There is no chance Nimmo sees Citi Field this season, even if he goes on to tear up Double-A, but a mid-to-late season call-up in 2015 does not seem out of the question. Even if he struggles, he is probably already capable of better than what the Mets have gotten out of the left field position this season. Nimmo is still just a college aged player, and so he is ahead of the pace of others in his league. His ability to get on base is something this Mets team craves. If ownership is willing to inject some talent into the major league team by spending some money, Brandon Nimmo could every well be a part of the Mets’ next playoff appearance, perhaps as early as next year.
Commentary by Brian Moore