Brandon Nimmo appreciates the faith the Mets have in him to be their center fielder and leadoff hitter

New York Mets, Brandon Nimmo
Sep 25, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets center fielder Brandon Nimmo (9) runs to third base in the first inning against the Miami Marlins at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

If the New York Mets’ offseason activity is any indication, then we could assume that the organization wants Brandon Nimmo to compete for the starting center fielder job. He mashed last season, to the tune of a .280/.404/.484 line, a .387 wOBA, and a 148 wRC+. He was 48% better than his peers, yet there are defensive questions surrounding his game.

In 2020, he graded out positively in the corners, but was very bad in center field. He was one of the worst outfielders in MLB per Statcast’s Outs Above Average (OAA.)

The Mets brought two capable defensive center fielders in Albert Almora Jr. and Kevin Pillar. The former could start the season in the minors, while the latter could potentially accept a part-time role.

Additionally, the Mets pursued center fielders George Springer and Jackie Bradley jr. in free agency.

However, all signs point to Nimmo being the regular center fielder.

“That is a big deal,” Nimmo said to SNY of the Mets’ confidence in him as a two-way player. “They’ve conveyed to me that they have a lot of confidence in me, so that is very good. But I want to do my best with that confidence and go and work as hard as I possibly can. For them to give me these opportunities, I am so grateful. And I’m gonna go work as hard as I possibly can and make the adjustments. But that’s what I need. I need the opportunities. I need to make the adjustments, and so, now is perfect time to do it.”

The Mets’ best option at leadoff hitter

Not only that, but he is firmly entrenched as the Mets’ leadoff hitter, too.

Nimmo is the perfect leadoff batter for any club, as his .404 OBP confirms.

“We have a ton of options so I think that can be flexible throughout the season. But it does give me a lot of confidence,” he said. “My job is to get on base. We have so many good hitters behind me that the more I can get on base… the better for our team and being able to score runs.”

That’s the spot he occupied in Tuesday’s exhibition game, and according to manager Luis Rojas, that will be his place in the lineup when the real action starts.

Nimmo, a left-handed hitting outfielder, struggled against lefties, slashing .196/.317/.333 in 2020. However, he says that spring training is the perfect time to work on adjustments and he is trying to improve.

“I’ve seen what [the] numbers were last year, and I know that there are improvements that need to be made. But I also have a lot of belief in myself that given the opportunities, I will make the adjustments,” Nimmo said. “…I think that’s the goal of this spring training. Going into the season… I’m just going to try to ask for as many opportunities I can possibly get now in order to make adjustments for when it really matters during the regular season.”