So far for Mets fans Brandon Nimmo is known as the guy the team drafted instead of Jose Fernandez. Unfair, yes, but that is how it goes many times. Just ask Steve Chilcott, picked number one in 1966 by the New York Mets, ahead of a guy named Reggie Jackson. But when I woke up this morning and looked Nimmo up, I saw the following slash line; .407/.530/549. That’s a good line.
When discussing bypassed players, you forgot to mention Sonny Gray. He out-dueled Yu Darvish on Monday night and has already started two playoff games. I know the draft is impossibly hard, but when it becomes such a point of emphasis, it’s fair to think critically. That said, Nimmo appears to be developing quite nicely.
If Nimmo is turning a corner it could be a huge development for the Mets. Up until now most of our top-notch prospects have all been pitchers. And as we see at Citi Field every day, pitching is a great start, but you do need some hitting. We have a real need for a foundation position player on this team. The last one to come through the system was David Wright in 2004. That’s ten years ago.
I remember first taking real notice of David Wright when he, too, was in high-A ball. I was very impressed by his BB:K ratio. in 2003, at age 20, David walked 72 times and K’d 98. In addition to 15 HRs, he banged out 39 doubles and 2 triples. You can’t fake those kinds of numbers.
Nimmo was plagued with a misdiagnosed wrist injury last season. In Savannah, a tough hitter’s league, he walked 71 times but struck out 131. This season, he’s at 24:20, and that’s very encouraging.
I’ve said this elsewhere, but the most salient aspect about Brandon Nimmo — besides the fact that he now stands as the signature draft pick of the Alderson/DePodesta brain trust — is that Brandon seems to do naturally what Alderson most values in a hitter. He has the approach that the Mets want to see across the organization. Nimmo has a great eye, takes a lot of pitches, works walks, and is highly selective. This wasn’t a skill that they taught; it was a talent that he demonstrated before signing with the Mets. I’m saying, he represented exactly the type of player they were looking for.
An Allan Dykstra type hitter.
I wrote this about Dykstra back in September, “Walk This Way: Where Math Meets Old School, and Allan Dykstra Becomes a Test Case“:
I read with great interest Sandy Alderson’s comments about Mets prospect Allan Dykstra, who mashed at Binghamton this past season to the tune of .274/.436/.503. Those are extraordinary numbers — the walk rate is astounding — and it earned him league MVP honors. The most notable downside is his age, 26, and that this was his 3rd year in the league. Plus there are serious questions about his ability to field and run.
Perhaps Sandy Alderson just wanted to show his support for a player he’s grown attached to, perhaps he wants Dykstra to sign with the team again this winter, but it sounds to me like Allan Dykstra embodies the qualities that the Mets GM most admires.
He takes and rakes.
I therefore submit Allan Dykstra as a test case in this noble experiment.
“He has had a great season, and he has approached the game, offensively, the way the organization hopes to approach the game at the major-league level.”
Yes, that word again, approach. I don’t believe there’s a GM in baseball who talks about hitting as much as Sandy Alderson. He definitely has a strong point of view.
Brandon Nimmo is Sandy Alderson’s next great hope, if you will.
Certainly it’s not surprising that Nimmo works counts and is selective. We know this is being taught throughout the system, it would only make sense that it is also being scouted. No one player makes or breaks a philosophy, but Nimmo offers an early glimpse of the prototypical Alderson-era player. It’s another reason his success or failure is noteworthy, more so than the average number one pick.
Originally Brandon was brought along slowly as he was a more raw prospect than many draftees. There wasn’t even a baseball team at his high school in Cheyenne, Wyoming.
I’m glad you brought that up. Times have changed in a big way. A lot was made of the fact that Nimmo’s high school didn’t have a baseball team. That never bothered me. We’ve seen high school sports, teams coached by the science teacher who needs the extra bucks to keep his old Chevy on the road. The real talent has moved on to AAU and similar leagues. High school teams are in many cases (but not all), a couple of steps down from travel-type organizations, where they pull players from different areas. My daughter, only in 7th grade, played on an AAU hoops team last year that took girls from a 25-mile radius. There were 6th-grade girls in the front court who lived 50 miles apart. Meanwhile, the school basketball coaches are happy subbing in five at a time, playing lazy zones, and hoping for the best. The real sports education is happening elsewhere.
My experience with high school AAU ball was guys who rolled out the balls at tournaments, and if they lost, immediately started sweet-talking kids on the winning team to change sides. And street agents, looking to make a buck off the real high-level kids. The difference to me between high school and travel was the high schools had poor coaches, the AAU teams, in effect, coach themselves. And, as you said, that the competition is much higher in travel ball. The real pro scouting goes on there now.
When it comes to Nimmo, perhaps the Mets even preferred the fact that he had less prior instruction. They seem to want to mold their own clay in a distinct image. I’ve wondered if this is one of the reasons we are so inactive in the Cuban market. Those players arrive fully developed.
And famously aggressive at the plate.
Now in his fourth year in the Mets organization, at 21 years old, Nimmo is still not old for A-ball. However, the true stars move quickly, and with this much time in the professional ranks Nimmo can no longer be considered raw. If Nimmo keeps producing I would like to see him in Binghamton by Memorial Day. Preparing him for a mid-June 2015 debut in New York is not unreasonable.
No, but it’s optimistic and a little out-of-character for this group. Hopefully Nimmo gets moved up to Binghamton by the All-Star Break, continues to rake, and forces a decision. I doubt there’s a fan in NY who wants Nimmo to succeed more than Sandy Alderson and his minions.