HomeTeamsMetsBrandon Nimmo as Mr. Met

Brandon Nimmo as Mr. Met

A walk-off home run on Sunday night by Brandon Nimmo vs. A.J. Minter and the Braves, immediately brought images of Kirk Gibson and the late Willis Reed to mind. Nimmo was out of the starting lineup and talked with ESPN during the broadcast bout his potential for playing later in the game. I am not much of a fan of in-game player interviews, but this one ended up being part of the story since the ending was storybook.

Nimmo entered the game as a pinch runner in the seventh inning. His injury on Saturday afternoon was an intercostal (abdomen) injury, so the idea that Nimmo could run was not a surprise. But it was more than pinch running as Nimmo entered the game in the field in the eighth inning. Nimmo then proceeded to made one terrific catch in left field to preserve the score in the 8th, and another less difficult one in the 9th inning. When Jeff McNeil safely drag-bunted to leadoff the home 9th inning, the stage was set as Nimmo battled to a 3-2 count against a tough lefty, yet also one who he’d already homered off to tie a game in Atlanta last month. Nimmo launched a game winning homer over the right field fence and gleefully floated around the bases.

This is Brandon Nimmo’s 9th season as a New York Met. A 2011 #1 draft pick, Nimmo is a Met through and through, like Mr. Met! He’s always been a Met, and with 6 years remaining on his 8-year/$162M contract, Nimmo might forever be a Met. David Wright was the most recent holder of that title, and the only things that stopped Wright from having a Cooperstown Hall-of-Fame career exclusively as a Met, were injuries that shortened his career. Should Nimmo play out his contract with the Mets he will be 37 years old with 15 seasons as a Met.

Nimmo, earlier in his career suffered injuries that had Mets fans wondering if he’d ever be able to handle the grind of MLB. Last year and the year prior, Nimmo played centerfield, a physically demanding position. He played in 152 and 151 games respectively in 2023 and 2022. This year Nimmo has been moved to left field where he is displaying league average defense in left field and has had a couple of important outfield assists.  

Way back when Nimmo was drafted, he was thought to have the opportunity to be a modest power hitter. Topping out at 20 home runs with a high on-base average were what was expected. Despite above-average running speed, Nimmo has never been a base stealing threat. Nimmo did lead the National League with seven triples in 2022. Nimmo has repeatedly stated that he feels he can go from first base to third base as well as anyone in the National League and that’s one of the reasons he does not attempt to steal.

Mets fans know Nimmo hails from Wyoming and had to have his parents drive him hundreds of miles around the country to play games versus top-notch competition. It’s a nice story, and Nimmo’s ‘Aw Shucks’ personality belies a player who is relentless in his pursuit of improvement.

Nimmo was not a primarily a centerfielder until 2021 when he played 84 games at the position. Once he was installed as the centerfielder, Nimmo worked hard on his running speed (to be faster to the ball), positioning, and throws from what was to him a new position. He wasn’t a Gold Glove candidate but made himself into a solid CF. One thing that is overlooked is that the Mets have not been looking for a leadoff hitter since Nimmo became a regular player in 2017. Having a leadoff hitter for seven years is a huge asset as well as it is uncommon.

In the prime of his career at age 31, Nimmo has added power to his repertoire over the past few seasons. 24 home runs in 2023 was an important step up and Nimmo only dropped his OBA by less than 10% in pursuit of that power. His game winner on Sunday was something you don’t expect from a leadoff hitter unless his name is Ronald Acuna, Mookie Betts, or Kyle Schwarber.

Nimmo’s normally high on-base-average combined with his power and batting average add up to a career on base plus slugging of .827 (it’s .809 and rising this season) and a career OPS+ of 130 including 138 in 2024. There are plenty of Hall-of-Famers that have a lower career OPS+ than Nimmo including to-be-inducted Adrian Beltre who has a career 117 OPS+).

On a team with transcendent stars like Francisco Lindor and Pete Alonso it might not be obvious that Nimmo has a more realistic chance than they do of retiring as a Met and having his number 9 retired as well. The Mets Hall-of-Fame is also well within reach for Brandon Nimmo. That kind of snuck up on us, didn’t it? 

Mark Kolier
Mark Kolierhttps://mlbreport.com/
Mark Kolier along with his son Gordon co-hosts a baseball podcast called ‘Almost Cooperstown’. He also has written baseball-related articles that can be accessed on Medium.com, Substack.com and now MLBReport.com.


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