When a fan starts to criticize Sandy Alderson, Brandon Nimmo becomes one of the main points of discussion: his lack of experience, his extremely high strikeout totals or another “failed” prospect during the Alderson era. Some fans, including myself, have been supportive of Nimmo and his .372 and .397 OBP’s in 2012 and 2013. Recently, on the famous “Top 100 Prospects,” MLB.com had to release another prospect due to his rookie status being taken resulting in the underrated outfield prospect, Brandon Nimmo, sneaking in as the number 100 prospect. With this recent upgrade to his name, let’s look at how this happened and what this can mean in the near future.
Many fans now know the story of Nimmo – that he actually grew up in Wyoming where no high school baseball was played. This didn’t matter to Alderson Co. because he was the first player drafted in the first round from his home state. The Mets almost didn’t get the deal done to sign the youngster, but he thankfully signed and reported to the GULF league and eventually to Kingsport. Nimmo really didn’t hit much in his first professional season, but he did strikeout at a high rate (14 K’s in 10 games).
In 2012, Nimmo got his feet wet in Brooklyn and was able to post respectable numbers: .248/.372/.406 with six homers and twenty doubles in a pitchers park. Last season he showed a flash of excellence when he posted an .854 OPS, but then over the next three months he struggled to break an OPS over .700. Fortunately in August his uneven performance finished with an .885 OPS. Most of his struggles were fueled by returning too soon from a wrist injury and hitting in one of the toughest hitting parks in America. Nevertheless, by the end, Nimmo still hit for a solid .756 OPS and kept many fans.
Nimmo came into 2014 with the same attitude as previous seasons, only this year he was playing with the pros in Spring Training. After his brief stint on National television, Nimmo had to stay in Florida while the rest of the team traveled north. Nimmo busted out of the gate and raked in the month of April to the tune of a 1.023 OPS. Needless to say, he had received some public attention on some hot sheets and Bleacher Report top prospect lists.
Since his raging start he has cooled off a bit, but still retains great numbers. In May, he hit for a .278/.402/.423 slash line and is still mashing. The question becomes, where could he go this season if he keeps hitting like this? The bottom line is that a promotion to AA Binghamton is no more than a month away if this type of production keeps coming. If he continues to mash like this in Binghamton, a call-up to Las Vegas at the end of the season is not out of the question.
If in fact Nimmo is able to keep up this insane production, and he is able to receive a cup of coffee in Las Vegas, then the question becomes, what type of player can he be someday? Many were expecting Nimmo to become a 20/20 player and tear the seams off the ball. This is probably not the case. That being said, Nimmo still has the potential to be an elite lead-off hitter with acceptable power and Nimmo as the lead-off hitter would probably make more sense than any other spot in the lineup. This is because Nimmo has superior on-base skills that could actually translate to 100 walks per season. The main problem with placing him leadoff is obviously the high strikeout totals, which is a solid argument. The lone and strongest rebuttal to this argument is that even though Nimmo is striking out, he is still making solid contact resulting in the strikeouts being somewhat worthwhile. All in all, Nimmo could be successful as a major leaguer with a .280/.380/.450 slash line in combination with 15 to 20 homers and about 25 steals.