CECILIANI VS. NIMMO: Who's Better? Tom Brennan
I like results, and don't necessarily follow the herd. We've gotten to see Darrell Ceciliani this year in Queens. Certainly not lights out, but not terrible, and especially when one considers how few games he had played at the AAA level..
Brandon Nimmo has the first round pedigree and has done pretty well so far in a brief stint in AAA. Prospect ranking folks usually include Nimmo, never include Ceciliani, so Nimmo has to be the better long term prospect, right?
Well, not so fast. I know Darrell is already 25, but he's had seasons truncated by leg injuries, which slowed his development. But his excellence in AAA (where I know stats are to be completely discarded as meaningless) this season has been undeniable.
Darrell Ceciliani was a 4th round pick having just turned 19 in 2009. He had a 2010 season in Brooklyn far better than any of this year's guys. In 2011 and 2012, due to injuries, he played the equivalent of about one full season. His 23 game 2012 season in St Lucie was very strong - but very short.
He then spent 2 years in AA in 2013 and 2014, putting up solid but far from spectacular results. Had he plateaued, or had the injuries kept us from seeing the true Ceciliani after 2010?
Seems the latter. He started 2015 in Vegas very impressively, and with the Mets desperate for answers to their offensive woes, called Darrell up in late May after less than 40 AAA games, hitting .336.
Was it a hot streak? Well, through Friday, he was hitting over .400 in 16 games. Seems more like his talent is blossoming this year. After 57 AAA games, he is hitting a spectacular .356/.405/.611.
At 6'1", 220, he has the size to up his power game, and that is also occurring in 2015. And he has a true gift of speed, having stolen 18 of 22 in 2015 and about 75% in his career.
I see Darrell as having the potential to be an excellent 3rd or 4th outfielder in the majors.
Brandon Nimmo is having a solid season, sort of on the par with what Ceciliani produced in 2013 and 2014. He has reduced his strikeouts and walks a lot, with 41 BBs and 65 Ks in 88 games. However, he has stolen just 4 of 8, so he does not have Darrell's wheels. He only has 3 homers in approximately 380 PAs, which is clearly and objectively low. In fact, he only has a quite subpar 21 extra base hits this year.
In fairness to Nimmo, he takes seriously learning to work the count, which leads to a high number of walks and a career .382 on base %. But his career slugging % is just .390. By comparison, the slugging % of Matt Reynolds, not renowned for his power, is .397, and Darrell's is an up-trending .421.
Brandon is 3 years younger than Darrell, so he has time to improve. Just as I made the case recently when comparing Conforto and the two years younger Dominic Smith.
But Nimmo’s numbers to date cry do not cry out to me that he is a star starting major league outfielder in the making. More like a 3rd or 4th outfielder - eventually.
We'll see, but as of right now, I'd say that long term, it is too soon to say who will be the better of the two. The pundits would likely say Nimmo. I'm calling it a draw, and thinking that time will tell.
What do you think, folks?