On Brandon Nimmo and Baseball Prospectus’ new scouting feature

Brandon NimmoBy now most people are familiar with the concept of sample size. We know better than to overreact – good or bad – to what a player does in a game, a series or a week. We know if a guy goes 3-for-4 or 1-for-20, it doesn’t necessarily mean that player is destined for a good or bad year. We want the biggest sample sizes possible.

Yet somehow that doesn’t translate to scouting information. We all love to play armchair scouts, myself included. Back in 1985, I saw an early April start for Bruce Berenyi, who had fantastic stuff that day. Because I witnessed it in person, my belief in Berenyi was through the roof. Of course, Berenyi came back to normal in his next start, soon landed on the DL and never made much of an impact again in the majors.

Even today, you hear fans who get to see players a handful of times convinced that someone is a good player based on what they’ve seen in person. It’s just hard to overcome that bias.

Recently, Baseball Prospectus introduced a feature where they are going to bring a ton of in-person scouting reports to their site. The best news is that this is going to be free, at least initially. Hey, the more information that’s out there, the better. It will be great to have another place for scouting information, specifically with pitchers with how hard and what they throw.

BP teased this new feature with a handful of scouting reports that are currently available. One was for Mets prospect Brandon Nimmo. Here’s some of what Jeff Moore said about him:

Classic left-handed stance with quiet hands and a slight knee bend. Features a short swing, especially for a tall player, with a slight natural uppercut. Not an ultra-quick bat but enough to handle anything but the highest velocity. Has natural ability to put the barrel on the ball and is willing to use the whole field. Hits with a line-drive approach and is extremely patient at the plate, even in RBI situations. Hit tool will play up because of patience, which helps him get into hitter’s counts.


Nimmo is still figuring out what kind of player he is going to be. He’s built like a power hitter but approaches his at-bats like a table-setter, and his game fits that mold. While none of his traditional tools stand out, he does have one premium ability—plate discipline. He refuses to expand the strike zone, even when he has an easy run-producing opportunity. He can be an above-average hitter, but the hit tool will play up because of the plate discipline. He could be a plus on-base player. His defensive profile is still a question, but if he gets on base and provides plus defense in an outfield corner, he could start on a first-division team.

The report indicates when they saw the player and in this case it was over three games in April. It also gives an MLB ETA, contains scouting grades on the five tools and gives a “realistic role” for the player in the majors.

Can you tell what a guy in A-ball’s role in the majors will be based on three games? I have my doubts. Yet if six or eight or more people file reports on a player over a season, and they all see him at different times, it’s easy to see this being a very useful thing.

So, congratulations to BP for trying to move the conversation forward. And here’s hoping Moore turns out being too conservative about Nimmo.

3 comments for “On Brandon Nimmo and Baseball Prospectus’ new scouting feature

  1. May 7, 2014 at 8:15 pm

    Good piece, Brian. Another site has done this sort of crowd-sourcing for defense, though I am blanking on the name. Far too much prospect reporting on blogs comes from the stat sheet only. Though, naturally, the unreliable narrator comes into play now. Take with plenty of salt.

    • May 8, 2014 at 9:44 am

      FanGraphs is the place with the crowd-sourcing for defense.

      I think the BP authors have a little background training in scouting. I expect the quality of their reports to be better but there won’t be nearly as many of their scouting reports as there are fans reports over at FG and I think that will hurt.

      Still, some is so much better than none and I’m grateful for their efforts.

  2. Patrick Albanesius
    May 8, 2014 at 9:51 am

    Cool way to bring back the old-school scouting, by actually watching a player. Sounds like plenty of good feedback for Mr. Nimmo. Hopefully we’ll find him in Flushing soon.

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