Reese Kaplan -- A Nimmo Reprise from 2016/2017


During the years 2016 and 2017 I wrote about Brandon Nimmo and questioned whether or not he would, by age 24, become a middle-of-the-order threat.  Many scoffed at the time, but I dredged up some of that content to see if maybe for once I wasn't completely crazy:

A lot of people are wondering what will become of him (Nimmo) as he continues to mature and adjust given his limited baseball experience.  The comp I once offered up is the Marlins’ Christian Yelich.  He too took some time to adjust to the majors with solid batting averages but limited power during his first three seasons.  He began his career at age 21 and over those initial three seasons he hit as high as .300, but never tallied double digits in HRs and didn’t exceed 54 RBIs.  He has a bit more speed and delivers a .368 OBP. 

At age 24, however, it all came together for Yelich and he rewarded the Marlins faith by providing a season of .298/21/98.  Will Nimmo ever be this good?  It’s too soon to tell, but the stories are similar about late bloomers who parlayed selective hitting and good at-bats into solid numbers and eventually growing into their power.   I list him as on-the-bubble for the upcoming season, but there’s no reason he can’t take over the Alejandro De Aza role at less than 10% of his cost.  

As a minor leaguer he didn’t really seem to put it all together until an extended run in AAA in 2016 when he finished with a .352/11/62 output with an impressive .423 OBP and an OPS of .964 in just under 400 ABs.  If you factor in the PCL effect on hitters and pitchers then you have to scale back those expectations a bit.

Fast forward to 2017 in the majors and he held his own.  He had a multi-homer game (which was surprising since power is not one of his great attributes), and continued to get on base at an impressive clip.  What is concerning, however, is a dramatic jump in strikeouts – 60 in just 177 ABs.  That’s a Nieuwenhuisian pace. 

So what do the Mets really have here with Nimmo?  Assuming he relaxes a bit and plays to his selectivity a bit better, what can they realistically expect?  Remember that he did not play organized high school baseball in Wyoming, so his development is a bit delayed.  Consequently, it’s possible he will become something of a late bloomer.

If you extrapolate the numbers he should be on pace (with some slight improvement) towards .280/15/70.  Another young outfielder whose parallel I drew a year or so ago started off his first full time season with a .280/9/54 and followed that up with a sophomore campaign of .300/7/44.   In his third season he made a quantum leap to deliver .298/21/98 which resulted in a buyout of his next few years.  He rewarded his team with a fourth full year of .282/18/81, down a bit but still showing that the 3rd year was far from a fluke.  So is Brandon Nimmo a Christian Yelich type or is he merely going to be a 4th outfielder/fringe starter? 

Some early scouting reports were guardedly optimistic. SBnation said:

“Those long limbs and the prospect of filling out that frame could mean that power is on its way. He should be able to leverage the ball for power to all fields, and when he extends completely, he has substantial power to the opposite field. This will especially be true once he gets his swing working well. Right now, Nimmo has the skeleton of a very good swing. He has tremendous hand-eye coordination that allows him to square up well on the ball, and the barrel of his bat spends a long time in the strike zone. He's very short to the ball and has a high finish, but he's overly reliant on his hands—which are very strong—to push the ball where he wants it to go. He'll usually rotate his hips, but he has a tendency to do so too early, before he's even balanced his weight properly. A strong rotational swing will have the arms, hips, and legs all working in concert. Nimmo has the parts working, for the most part, but it will take time to get them to work together. Until that happens, and until he actually adds the muscle we anticipate, the power will remain a projection and nothing more.”

Baseball Digest was similarly cautious in praising the young outfielder:

“Nimmo has plus hitting potential, but being as his experience is limited, as is the video, it’s difficult, if not impossible to label him. Pro scouts are positive about his hit tool, with some saying his “polish with the bat” to be almost as impressive as his speed. During his MVP performance last summer in the Under Armour game, he doubled down the left field line and singled through shortstop for his two hits, so he’s not afraid to use the opposite field and is comfortable with his hitting style and approach.

While not quite as difficult to project as the overall hit tool because not everyone HAS power, it still can be a tricky one to figure out at times. It is also the one tool which causes the most disagreement among scouts...Where does Nimmo profile power wise? It’s impossible to say, although no one thought Ike Davis would be a 20 homer guy when he was drafted either, and that’s including playing half the time in Citi Field.”

The good news with the Mets collective inertia based upon philosophy, payroll and injuries is that all signs point toward Nimmo having the opportunity to play every day and let the Mets know what they really have.

Hmmn...maybe I did nail this one after all.


Thomas Brennan said...

Resse, now we all have to consider:

Can Nimmo be a star?

And can perhaps Nimmo become one of their best ever outfielders?

Rob said...

I think the best ever outfielders is Mike Trout.

Mike Freire said...

IF he continues to develop, he is my left fielder for the next few years.

I would trade Yo in a heartbeat, if I could.

Add in a healthy and productive Conforto and you have left and right field covered
in the coming sesasons.

Eddie Corona said...

What is it Nimmo Day?
I believe? Didn't Greg Jefferies have a great stretch too? Flores show signs of a great stretch?

Not ready to say "Maybe we were all wrong"... And I would love to eat crow...

Reese Kaplan said...

Flores has had great stretches and customarily got benched by the dunce in charge after them...including a six-hit day. Who here doesn't think Flores could have produced more than Adrian Gonzalez if he played every day?

Thomas Brennan said...

Flores needs to play more - Dominic Smith, beware - but Nimmo is not a one season fluke - Brandon did quite nicely last year too. I don't expect Nimmo to remain at top 4 in baseball in slugging %, but perhaps an on base % close to .400 and a slug % close to .500 for the rest of the season? Maybe. That would make for one TERRIFIC season.

Mack's Mets © 2012