Why Does Brandon Nimmo Get Used as Trade Bait?

Ryan Garcia
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

The New York Mets were trying to pull the trigger on a trade to galvanize this team from 86 wins to playoff contention. The name that kept popping up was Starling Marte to shore up Center Field and be the Mets star outfielder. The name that was brought up in rumors? Brandon Nimmo. Why is he someone that’s on the trade market? The Mets are in no position to trade a 27-year-old outfielder with incredible upside.

A Talent That Can’t Be Replaced Easily

How many 27-year-old outfielders with a career 130 wRC+ can you find in free agency or through the trade market right now? A career .387 OBP and in his only full season hitting 4.5 wins above replacement according to Fangraphs also is pretty darn excellent. Nimmo is a player who is perfect for the Mets, he’s a left-handed bat who has n incredible ability to get on base, has decent power with a .483 SLG% in 2018, and is also extremely fast. He has consistently been faster than at least 80% of MLB players ever since he stepped into the MLB. The numbers don’t just show a normal starting outfielder, it shows an elite hitter who is arguably one of baseball’s best at getting on base.

How Does He Hold Up to Starling Marte?

Since 2017, their stats show that Nimmo is clearly the better player and it’s not even close. Don’t believe me? Well let’s look at Marte’s metrics since 2017 and compare them to the speedy Nimmo

Nimmo: .391 OBP, .450 SLG, 3.83 fWAR/150
Marte: .334, .458 SLG, 3.43 fWAR/150

These stats are skewed for Nimmo because he was injured in 2019 and was not a starter consistently in 2017. You can look at nearly every important offensive metric and you’ll see that Nimmo is a lot better offensively. Nimmo’s downside is that he isn’t a great defender, while Marte is fantastic in LF. The Mets would’ve been crazy still to trade a better player overall (as shown by Fangraphs WAR) and have to probably trade more than just Nimmo for Marte.

Perfect For Any Lineup

When you think of a guy to lead off and get on base for your team, you want a high OBP, decent power to hit extra-base hits, and get straight to scoring position, and while not necessary, good speed is always a plus. Nimmo is everything I just named and more. He works perfectly for the Mets as he will statistically get on base nearly 4/10 times, meaning he is bound to get on base every game essentially. With stars like Polar Bear Pete and Jeff McNeil in there alongside JD Davis, and Michael Conforto, he will give the Mets’ best hitters ample opportunities to score runners. I’m not too optimistic on the 2020 Mets, but if there’s one certainty, it’s that Nimmo is the sparkplug to the Mets offensive plans which will carry a huge load with the pitching being injured.

If the Mets offense is great, that won’t be just because of Pete Alonso, or Michael Conforto, or Jeff McNeil, it’ll be because Nimmo will be that on-base machine who will be on first base or second base at least once a game for their 2-5 hitters to drive in. The Mets and their fanbase should be very grateful that Nimmo is on this team and if he gets traded away, they’re going to pay in terms of success.