New York Mets Player Evaluations: Center Fielder Brandon Nimmo

Daniel Marcillo
Sep 29, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets center fielder Brandon Nimmo (9) at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Brandon Nimmo had a very underrated year in 2020 for the New York Mets continuing to hold down the leadoff spot in their order. His incredible ability to combine his walks and power made him an instrumental player in the Mets order. Despite his amazing offensive prowess, he ranked as one of the worst defensive center fielders in baseball.

Nimmo started the season slow hitting the ball but his ability to get on base with ease. Through his first 18 games, he hit .218 with a .427 on-base percentage and 18 walks with the same amount of strikeouts. In the rest of his 37 games, his numbers were on an All-Star level. There is a slight caveat, most of his at-bats came against right-handed pitchers.

Either way, his slash line of .305/.393/.534 with six home runs and 13 RBIs is very impressive. His walk rate and strikeouts rates also decreased because he was more aggressive early in the count. It was Nimmo’s first season, where his strikeout rate finished below 20%. He also kept his walk rate in the top 10% in the league. Nimmo also became someone defenses could not shift against. His wOBA against the shift increased by almost 200 points, and it was due to him raising his average on offspeed pitches. He batted .233 in 2020 compared to a lousy .032 during the 2019 season.

Defensive Struggles

Nimmo was forced into center field duty because none of their better defensive players could produce like him offensively. He had a -4 outs above average and a -5 defensive runs saved in center field. Despite having good speed, he could not combine it with getting good jumps and taking correct angles to the ball. Nimmo held his own in right field, but it is tough to see the Mets going forward with him as their everyday center fielder during 2021.

He is heading into his second year of arbitration and will likely get somewhere around $6 million-$8 million in an increased salary. Nimmo’s ability to combine a great eye at the plate with good power makes him a versatile leadoff hitter. The drawbacks come in his center field defense and that he became a platoon player as the season carried on, only hitting .180 against lefties.

2020 Grades On 20-80 Scale (2021 Projection)

Hitting: 60 (55), Hitting lefties will be the difference between Nimmo being a .300 and .270 hitter.

Power: 60 (60), Would have been on pace for 23 home runs in a full season.

Run: 50 (45), Lost a step this season but still capable of batting leadoff and stealing 10-15 bases.

Arm: 45 (45), 3 Outfield Assists on the Year.

Field: 45 (40), Can’t play center field but should be serviceable everywhere else.