WAYNE, N.J.- The culmination of the Mets not-so bright-and-cheery season is, as of today, a record that puts them tied with the Miami Marlins for last place in the NL East (13.5 games back).
Besides 2018 All-Star Jacob deGrom’s quest for the National League Cy Young award, there seems to be one additional bright spot in the 2018 Mets’ galaxy: outfielder Brandon Nimmo. Not only because of his beaming smile, but because of his production.
— New York Mets (@Mets) June 18, 2018
In my opinion, the Mets dropped the ball by failing to adequately rally their fans enough to elevate Nimmo to the All-Star Game as a write-in candidate. “Oh yeah, I definitely agree with you there” Noah Syndergaard told me while speaking to the media at his Procamp in New Jersey this afternoon. He continued: “I don’t even know where to begin with Brandon Nimmo. He’s just one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met. He works hard day in and day out. He’s got tremendous talent.”
His emergence as an asset is not a recent development. Nimmo’s versitility and talent were on display in limited at-bats with the Mets in 2016 and 2017 and for Team Italy at the World Baseball Classic. Nimmo played in 101 regular season games for the Mets (32 in 2016 and 69 in 2017). His versatility in the outfield and at the plate has certainly helped in buying him playing time. “Its been really influential in my career because [my versatility has] just given me opportunities. It’s part of the game: injuries happen. Because I’m versatile, I’ll be able to go and fill in in a few different positions. It’s given me the opportunity to go in and prove ‘hey, I can be here on a regular basis.”
He played well for Team Italy in the most recent installment of the World Baseball Classic before being sidelined due to a hamstring injury. Nimmo hit .308 with a home run and two runs batted in. He told me playing for Team Italy was “an absolute blast” and that “[he] was really proud to put on that uniform”. Nimmo added that his “great grandma and [his] grandma would have absolutely loved it if they could have been there” to see him play.
Obviously, Nimmo would not have been an All-Star Game starting outfielder, but a strong social media campaign could have earned him an alternate role. The Mets tweeted only eight times to their 1.03 million to #WriteInNimmo. Those tweets only occurred on June 15, 18, 19, and 20.
— New York Mets (@Mets) June 20, 2018
On July 5, 2018, while hosting a show in New York’s WFAN radio, I made a case for Nimmo, so the statistics and rankings below are through July 4, 2018.
BA: .265 (15thOF in NL):above Bryce Harper (3rdvote getter), Ronald Acuna Jr. (5thvote getter), Ender Inciarte (6thvote getter), Kyle Schwarber (8thvote getter), Andrew McCutchen (13thvote getter), Yasiel Puig (15thvote getter)
OBP: .386 (4thOF in NL):above everyone on the top 15 list other than Nick Markakis (1stvote getter), Ben Zobrist (8thvote getter), Lorenzo Cain (12thvote getter)
SLG: .525 (2ndOF in NL): Higher than everyone except Matt Kemp (2ndvote getter)
OPS (OBP+SLG): .910 (2ndOF in NL):Higher than everyone except Matt Kemp (2ndvote getter)
Despite these numbers, even as one WFAN caller extrapolated them to reflect more at-bats, Nimmo did not even crack the top 15 in top vote getters for outfielders (by the end of the day on July 4). What a shame.
Syndergaard said that “[he] look[s] forward to watching him blossom as an unbelievable baseball player.” Perhaps the Mets will recognize the talent, hustle, and dedication of Nimmo in the form of a 2019 All-Star campaign.
Watch my one-on-one interview with Brandon Nimmo at a Team Italy (World Baseball Classic) dinner at Carmine and Sons Restaurant in Brooklyn, New York. The event was hosted by the Italian American Baseball Foundation.