New York Mets: Is Brandon Nimmo a Top Five Center Fielder?

The New York Mets are searching for a new center fielder this offseason, but there are only four in baseball better than Brandon Nimmo. According to MLB Network’s Shredder, Nimmo is the fifth-best center fielder in baseball behind Mike Trout, Cody Bellinger, George Springer, and Alex Verdugo.

For those who are not familiar with “The Shredder,” it has a recency bias. Nimmo’s offensive numbers alone can make a case for him to be the best player on the list. His defensive ability in center field tells a different story. Nimmo was one of the worst defensive center fielders in baseball and is why the Mets hope to move him to a corner position.

Trout With Less Power?

Nimmo is so strong offensively that this solely earned him the fifth spot. Nimmo’s average and on-base prowess resemble Trout’s numbers, but the main difference is in the power category. He had a great .484 slugging percentage during 2020, but Trout overshadows that at .603. Trout also hits well against both sides; Nimmo hit .191 against left-handed pitching last season.

Assuming there is a universal DH and Nimmo moves to left field, he could see himself higher on the left fielder rankings.

Trout and Nimmo are both below-average defenders. Nimmo had less defensive runs saved (-5 compared to -9) but had a worse UZR (-4.1 to -3.1). Trout also had 0 outs above average while Nimmo was at -4. Trout’s speed is what allows him to keep his defense from falling to Nimmo’s level.

Nimmo’s average sprint speed and below-average reactions, bursts, and routes show he is better off in left field. Trout still has elite speed and takes the best routes to the ball out of all center fielders. It allows him to negate his reactions off the bat, which are the lowest in his position.

What’s The Lesson?

Nimmo is on the brink of becoming a star player, but it will not happen in center field. The Mets will not struggle if Nimmo ended up as the starting center fielder. It is very likely that Nimmo’s defensive numbers will slightly improve because it is tough for him to be worse than he was last season. No matter the outfield position, spring camp will benefit him.

When analyzing MLB Networks Top 10 right now, Nimmo is slotted perfectly. He is better than the five names below him and not as good at the four above him. There could even be a case for Nimmo and Alex Verdugo switching spots at four and five. Either way, the Mets have a valuable player in Nimmo, and he will blossom more once he moves to the left field.

New York Yankees Analysis: Is It time for the Yankees/Mets trade ban to be lifted?

New York Mets, Brandon Nimmo

The New York Yankees and the New York Mets have been mortal enemies since the time of owner George M. Steinbrenner took over the Yankees and declared the team would be the preeminent New York sports team. Ever since then, the two teams have been rivals as Steinbrenner demanded that the Yankees be successful over their crosstown team every time they were to meet up. But while they fight it out for space on the tabloids’ back pages, these two New York clubs rarely collaborate on trades. Just 15 times since the Mets joined the fold 58 years ago have the crosstown rivals put aside their differences to complete a deal in the hopes of improving their respective organizations.

With a new operating partner in Hal Steinbrenner and a new New York Mets owner, maybe it’s time to put that near trade ban aside for the benefit of both teams.  The Met’s new owner Steven Cohen has made it known that he wants to raise the Mets to the top of the National League. At least initially, the trades between the Yanks and Mets have not always resulted in direct changes to their big league clubs. However, there have been several moves that have made an impact. Maybe now is again the time to look at possible trade deals.

Here are some trades that make some sense for both organizations. The Mets have a surplus in Brandon Nimmo, especially if they sign George Springer, who seems to be a Met target. Nimmo would be an upgrade from Brett Gardner, who the Yankee cut lose of. Nimmo is as good as a fourth outfielder gets these days, though he’s not quite a star or a 162-game player. He had a bum 2019 season for the Mets but bounced back when many players didn’t play well in the bizarre 2020 season. He slashed a .280/.404/.484 line.

But like any deal, the New York Yankees would have to give to get. The Yankees would likely have to give up prospects such as Luis Gil and Yoendrys Gomez, Gomez for the Mets is Major League ready, with Gil likely following a year or two later. This would move players that have no 2021 likely value to them.

The New York Yankees should talk to the Mets for a trade deal to add to the Yankee’s pitching depth. The Mets have a pitcher named David Peterson. He is a back of the end rotation guy for the Mets but would be an upgrade for the Yankees Jordan Montgomery.  This doesn’t seem to be a logical trade for the Mets. But with so many teams calling Brian Cashman on Mike Tauchman, including him and a high-end prospect such as Estevan Florial, it could make sense to the Mets while shoring up the Yankee’s depleted starting rotation. Peterson was 6-2 in 2020 with a 3.44 ERA. Another plus for the Yankees is that it would keep Clarke Schmidt in an insurance role as he continues to develop.

Here’s another interesting trade to consider: Adam Ottavino for Amed Rosario. With two aspiring prospects right behind Rosario, the Mets don’t have an immediate use for the reliever. It’s true that Adam Ottavino had a disastrous year with the Yankees this past season but still has the ability to be an ace type middle reliever. His bad numbers are mostly attributed to one horrible game against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Getting rid of Ottavino would give the Yankees a chance to sign a more capable consistent reliever to take his place on the 40 man. For the Yankees, they would get a good fielding shortstop in Rosario. Last season he hit .257 with four homers and a .981 fielding percentage. For the Mets, maybe a change of scenery is all Ottavino needs to have a 2019-like season.

Whether any of these trade ideas make any sense for either team, only time will tell, but the Yankees and Mets should not rule out trades between the teams that could benefit both teams, especially considering that they don’t play in the same league.

 

 

 

 

New York Mets: The Possible Infield Options With D.J. LeMahieu

New York Yankees, DJ LeMahieu

The New York Mets have “recently contacted” D.J. LeMahieu, according to Jon Heyman. Take that as you may but signing LeMahieu would strengthen their offense and drastically better their infield defense. If signing LeMahieu has traction, then the Mets have multiple combinations to work with during 2021.

The continued guessing game on a designated hitter for 2021 makes dealing with the free-agent market harder for every National League Team. The Mets already have DH options in place, but it does not make decision-making any easier.

In a few of these situations, J.D. Davis becomes very expendable. He was already part of rumors along with Amed Rosario for a Francisco Lindor trade. The obvious missing part is the missing prospect(s) needed to complete the move. As enticing as the trade seems, Davis, Rosario, plus a prospect might be too much if Lindor does not remain with the Mets past 2021. If Lindor was the difference separating the Mets from being a World Series contender, giving up a little extra would be reasonable.

No DH Option 1: LeMahieu to Third, McNeil to Second

With Robinson Cano suspended for the entirety of 2021, the Mets can move Jeff McNeil to second base. LeMahieu plays third base while Dominic Smith and J.D. Davis handles the left field. The infield defense would be significantly better than in 2020, but the outfield would still suffer. Signing LeMahieu could make signing George Springer tougher. It certainly could still happen, but Jackie Bradley Jr. or Kevin Pillar is more realistic in that situation.

No DH Option 2: LeMahieu at Second, Davis/McNeil at Third

LeMahieu at second shows, the Mets are content with either Davis or McNeil at third base. Davis was better defensively in 2020, but neither one stood out. Second base is LeMahieu’s natural position and is where he won all three of his Gold Glove awards. Andres Gimenez should play shortstop when pitchers like Marcus Stroman and David Peterson are on the mound. Stroman especially is a groundball pitcher, and solidifying the defense up the middle would attempt to make up for the weak corner options.

DH Option 1 (With Springer in CF): LeMahieu to Third, McNeil to Second, Nimmo in Left, Smith DH

This is the dream scenario for the Mets, especially with the DH in place. They would get a good balance of offense and defense they have not found in years. Offensively, the lineup would become a nightmare to pitch to, and the overall team defense improves. Even if the center fielder becomes one of the two names mentioned earlier, the defense still improves, but the offense would lose some punch.

DH Option 2 (Without Anyone New in CF): LeMahieu to Second, Davis to Third, McNeil to Left, Smith DH

With Brandon Nimmo in center field, the Mets cannot afford two below-average fielders in their everyday outfield. McNeil defended much better in the left-field after moving from third base. While Nimmo struggles in center field, McNeil and Michael Conforto would handle the corners. This is the least likely option as the Mets are almost guaranteed to sign a new center fielder.

Of course, there are way more options than the four mentioned. The idea of Rosario at third base or Gimenez at shortstop changes the whole dynamic of LeMahieu at the roster. The great part of this offseason is the ability to contemplate good solutions. In the past, ownership settled for options similar to slapping duct tape on a leak.

New York Mets Player Evaluations: Center Fielder Brandon Nimmo

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.

New York Mets Series Preview: Tampa Bay Rays (9/21-9/23)

New York Mets, Jacob deGrom

The New York Mets try to hold on to their small hopes of making the postseason as they take on the Tampa Bay Rays in a three-game series. The Rays are the best team in the American League, and the Mets need a sweep to keep their chances alive.

Probable Pitching Matchups:

Monday, (9/21) @ 7:10 p.m. ET: Pete Fairbanks (5-3, 2.74 ERA) vs. Jacob deGrom (4-1, 2.08 ERA)

Tuesday, (9/22) @ 7:10 p.m. ET: Blake Snell (4-1, 3.05 ERA) vs. Seth Lugo (2-3, 4.34 ERA)

Wednesday, (9/23) @ 7:10 p.m. ET: Tyler Glasnow (4-1, 4.21 ERA) vs. TBA

Jacob deGrom makes his first start after hamstring spasms forced him out after two innings. The poor start dropped him back in the Cy Young race, but two more great starts from deGrom could do plenty to get him his third straight Cy Young. Also, the Mets need a great start out of him as he tries to contend with the tough Rays offense.

Injuries were not the cause of reason for Seth Lugo’s last start. Balls flew all around Citizens Bank Park, and it was evident his swing and miss stuff was non-existent. Despite the Mets winning the game, it put the rotation for game one against the Braves in shambles.

Rays Pitching Depth

The Rays pitching is one of the biggest reasons they are a World Series contender this season. They have a 3.66 ERA and rank second in the AL in strikeouts. Twelve different pitchers have started games for them, and the same amount have recorded saves. Manager Kevin Cash has weapons to use at any time and is not afraid to use them in big moments.

Young upstart Brandon Lowe is emerging into a start this season. He leads the Rays in all three triple crown stats, hitting .272 with 13 home runs and 33 runs batted in. Lowe also leads the Rays in hits, walks, runs, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage.

Key Stats

Blake Snell vs. Todd Frazier: 1-for-8 (.182), Walk, Strikeout

Michael Conforto during Wins in 2020: .419/.537/.756, 8 Doubles, 7 Home Runs, 15 Walks, 17 Strikeouts

Brandon Nimmo w/2-Out during 2020: .341/.400/.610, 3 Doubles, Triple, 2 Home Runs, 3 Walks, 5 Strikeouts

Jacob deGrom Career vs. Rays: 2 Starts, 1.88 ERA, 14.1 IP, 15 Strikeouts

 

New York Mets: Peterson’s 10 Strikeouts Highlight 7-2 Win

New York Mets, David Peterson

After getting three straight starters lasted no more than two innings, David Peterson had the tall task of stopping the slump the New York Mets starting rotation are in. Peterson went far and above the call of duty striking out a career-high 10 Atlanta Braves in the Mets 7-2 victory.

Peterson lived up to his top prospect status in this big start. He held the Braves to one run over the six innings he pitched. His slider was one of the major reasons his strikeouts were up, and it was impressive to see him shut down a lineup that scored 15 runs the previous night.

In the seventh and eighth, Miguel Castro, Jeurys Familia, and Justin Wilson combined to keep the lead into the bottom of the eighth. It allowed them to add some insurance runs late in the game.

Patience is Key

Braves starter Ian Anderson held hitters to a .130 average but allowed ten walks over 21 innings. They paid close attention to their scouting report, drawing three straight walks to begin the bottom of the first. Robinson Cano got the Mets on the board with a two-run single to the opposite field to give the Mets an early 2-0 lead.

The only other run the Mets got off Anderson was an RBI single from Robinson Chirinos in the fourth inning. Depsite Anderson struggles, Atlanta’s bullpen held the Mets silent until Chris Martin entered in the eighth. He allowed back to back home runs to Dominic Smith and Robinson Cano to being the inning. Brandon Nimmo finished it off with a two-run single to extend the Mets lead to 7-2.

It was a win the Mets needed, as all of the games have become must-win games. The rubber game of the series comes down to Kyle Wright and Rick Porcello. The first pitch is at 1:10 p.m. ET from Citi Field.

New York Mets: Four Run Ninth Inning Catapults 10-6 Win

The final game of the series for the New York Mets against the Philadelphia Phillies was all about surviving and advancing to the next game. Their starting pitcher did not make it out of the second inning, seven combined runs were scored in the first inning, and two pitchers had to throw on their third consecutive day. Despite all of it, the Mets lived to steal a 10-6 victory from the Phillies.

The Mets immediately got a lead for Seth Lugo in the first inning. Dominic Smith‘s RBI double followed by Robinson Cano‘s two-run single gave the Mets an early 3-0 lead. After Lugo struck out the first batter he faced, it was clear he had nothing on the mound.

He allowed back-to-back-to-back home runs to give back the lead as quickly as the Mets got it. After allowing a Jean Segura triple, Adam Haseley drove him in to give the Phillies a 4-3 first-inning lead. Lugo allowed another two runs in the second inning and had to be replaced with Erasmo Ramirez.

Uphill Battle

The Mets bullpen gave them everything they needed and more for the second straight night. Ramirez started with 2.1 shutout innings, Chasen Shreve followed with another 2.1 scoreless innings. During that period, a Pete Alonso solo homer and Brandon Nimmo‘s two-run triple got the Mets even with the Phillies in the sixth.

After Jeurys Familia got through the seventh, he ran into trouble in the eighth. Justin Wilson came in for a third straight game an showed the ill-effects of all the work. Wilson could not locate anything and walked the first two batters he faced to load the bases. Luckily he found the strike zone on one pitch to get Didi Gregorius to pop out and survive the eighth.

The Mets offense came alive in the ninth inning. Nimmo led off the ninth with a home run, Smith had an RBI triple, and Cano capped it off with a two-run home run. Things did not come easy for Edwin Diaz in the bottom of the ninth. He was also in for the third straight day but worked around three walks, getting the Mets a big win.

On Friday, the Mets begin a three-game weekend series against the Atlanta Braves. Steven Matz makes his return to the rotation and faces Cy Young candidate Max Fried. The first pitch from Citi Field is at 7:10 p.m. ET.

New York Mets: Disappointing as Ever in 4-1 Loss to Phillies

New York Mets, Brandon Nimmo

The New York Mets needed to take game one of their series against the Philadelphia Phillies. Much like they have all season, they disappointed and forgot to show up in their 4-1 loss. They beat themselves in every way a team possibly, adding more pain to their season.

It was precisely the type of game we have come to expect from the lackluster Mets. They stunk with runners in scoring position, going 0-for-6 in those situations and leaving 12 on base. As usual, team disappointments, Wilson Ramos and Pete Alonso each left five on base on their own.

The poor play translated to their baserunning and fielding as well. With manager Luis Rojas at the helm and working with plenty of these players in the minors, it is tough to see a team he manages play poorly. After another infuriating loss, it is all but confirmed that the Mets will not make the playoffs this season.

The lone Mets run came from a Brandon Nimmo solo-home run. Everything else for the Mets offense was ugly as can be. Another ugly detail from the game was how much of a better manager Joe Girardi is compared to Luis Rojas. Thankfully the incompetent fools who opted against Girardi are selling the team to Steve Cohen.

Porcello Struggles Again

Rick Porcello was signed as the Mets number five starter and unfortunately had higher expectations with a poor Mets rotation. He allowed four runs over six innings pitched, keeping his ERA above six. Porcello was the worst starting pitcher in baseball during 2019, so his 2020 performance should be no surprise.

A bright spot comes in Edwin Diaz‘s performance, where he struck out the side in the ninth inning. His ERA dropped to 1.80, but the Mets never give themselves a lead where they can use him to win. The loss to the Phillies was their sixth in eight games.

On Wednesday, the Mets send Jacob deGrom to the mound against the Phillies. The focus moves on to the Cy Young race as the first pitch is another 7:05 p.m. ET start from Citizens Bank Park.

 

New York Mets: deGrom Holds Phils, Offense Does The Rest in 14-1 Win

New York Mets, Jacob deGrom

The New York Mets had their best all-around win of the season as they ride seven strong innings from Jacob deGrom to a 7-1 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies. Sunday’s matchup set up as a pitchers duel between deGrom and Aaron Nola, but deGrom showed why he is the best pitcher in the game.

deGrom held the Phillies to one run over seven innings with 12 strikeouts. Out of his 108 pitches, 35 of them were swing and misses. deGrom pitched with two different game plans, using his fastball predominantly in the first three innings then shifting to his slider. The lone Phillies run came on an Andrew Knapp home run in the second inning.

Aaron Nola did not have anywhere near the success he had during his last outing against the Mets. His defense hurt him at times, but he allowed six runs (three earned) in 5.1 innings pitched. Nola surprisingly struck out 10, despite allowing two home runs. He also allowed seven hits to left-handed batters after allowing only six hits to them all season.

Scattered Scoring

The Mets offense showed how potent they could be in their 14 run, 17 hit, 12 extra-base hit, and four home run effort. Seven different Mets recorded hits, and out of those, four of them had multiple-hit games. They scored in six out of eight innings, capping it off with a seven-run eighth inning.

Brandon Nimmo and Michael Conforto were anchors at the top of the order. They had three hits each, including a home run for Nimmo and two doubles for Conforto. Dominic Smith had four hits, including three doubles and three RBIs. Pete Alonso homered twice for two of his three hits, all of them hit at high velocities.

It was the laugher of a game the Mets have searched for, and their offense also went 5-for-16 with runners in scoring position. After a tough streak of losses, the Mets now have wins in four out of five games and are just three games under the .500 mark.

David Peterson hopes to get the Mets their third win and final win of the series. He faces former Met Zack Wheeler, who is making his first start as a visitor at Citi Field. The first pitch is another 1:10 p.m. start.

New York Mets: Rosario Walks it Off in 4-3 Victory

If you are a fan of the New York Mets, the last 20 minutes of their game against the New York Yankees was filled with happiness. You found out that Steve Cohen is the last name remaining for the sale of the team, and Amed Rosario walked off, in Yankee Stadium, against Aroldis Chapman. The two-run homer gave the Mets a 4-3 victory and moved the Mets to 15-16 on the season.

The seventh-inning comeback started with an eight-pitch battle, which led to a Jeff McNeil walk. Billy Hamilton pinch ran and ended up stealing second to move in scoring position for Rosario, who was pinch-hitting for Luis Guillorme. He worked himself into a 2-0 count and drove a hanging slider into the empty left-field bleachers for the “road” walk-off.

Peterson Survives Through Four

In his first start off the IL, David Peterson gave the Mets four innings and allowed three runs. He ran into trouble with one bad inning during the third. He allowed all three Yankee runs and walked three in the third inning. If it were a nine-inning game, Peterson likely would have pitched the fifth as well.

Like game one, the Mets bullpen held the Yankees scoreless and gave the Mets a chance to come back. It goes overlooked, but the Mets could have easily allowed the Yankees to pull away through the middle innings.

Dominic Smith led the way once again for the Mets offense. He had two hits, including a double and an RBI. Brandon Nimmo also contributed an RBI double as well and is right behind Smith for the team lead in extra-base hits.

The Mets have not announced a starter for Saturday’s game, but they will face off against J.A. Happ. The first pitch is at 1:05 p.m. ET from Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.