As the Mets’ season goes dark, Brandon Nimmo and Jacob deGrom are bright lights.

37-53. Looking up at the first place Philadelphia Phillies – and who saw that one coming?  Thirteen-and-a-half games out of first place, a half-game out of last.  This is the state of the Mets, the state of the fans’ misery.  The joke going around is that Citi Field was built on a Native American burial ground and will be cursed as long as it stands, accounting for the incredible run of bad luck the last two years.  If I didn’t know it was actually built on some good ol’ NYC landfill, I might believe it.  My dad used to tell stories about the early days of Shea Stadium and seeing an outfielder catch a spike in the grass and bring up a beer can.  Perhaps there is something to the location of the ballpark, after all: a team playing on top of garbage is playing like garbage.  Every now and then, though, they give us a reason to call them “Amazin’.”  It’s rare, sure, but it happens.  Last night’s game is a perfect example.

The two stars of that game have been the only sources of even semi-good news for this team. Jacob deGrom pitched eight shutout innings and Brandon Nimmo hit a walk-off home run.  One is headed to the All-Star Game next week and the other, it can be argued, should be.  And while it’s easy to stand out against the cardboard backdrop that is the rest of this team, their stats and performances are definitely legitimate on their own.  deGrom we’ve known about since he came up and won the NL Rookie of the Year Award in 2014.  He started out playing Ron Darling to Matt Harvey’s Dwight Gooden, but when Harvey went into eclipse, he emerged as the staff ace.  We’ve seen him pitch games on the big stage – a 2015 All-Star, a gutsy win in Los Angeles, putting the Mets into the NLCS that year, coming back from an injury-racked 2016.  deGrom checks all the boxes of what you want your number one guy to be.  If the three-headed monster that is currently Mets management has any brains at all among them, they will sign him to a long-term deal, short-circuiting all the trade talk and speculation about moving across town because he “deserves better.”

Nimmo is another story, entirely. He was erstwhile GM Sandy Alderson’s very first first round draft pick going at number 13 overall.  Alderson was roundly scoffed at for the pick.  Y’see, Nimmo was drafted out of high school – a high school that had no baseball team.  He made his bones playing American Legion ball.  He hails from Cheyenne, Wyoming, not exactly a hotbed of major league talent.  In the history of Major League Baseball, spanning over 140 years and nearly 20,000 players, y’know how many have come from Wyoming?  16.  Sixteen ballplayers from Wyoming have made the big leagues, including our old buddy John Buck.  So among the draftniks in 2011, the question was “Brandon who?”  Since he’s come to the Majors to stay, Nimmo has made quite an impression on the New York fans and media.  He seems to be in perpetual motion and wears a perpetual smile.  He sprints out walks, he busts it down the line on grounders and he’s not afraid to get his uniform dirty.  He’s a Pete Rose type, with a little more power and without the nasty side effects.  As this is written, he’s third in the NL in triples with six, has a 143 OPS+ and 2.3 bWAR.  Impressive, to be sure, but being a Met fan, I can’t help but think he will be a nice player, but not a true star – to me, he seems like the Mets’ version of the player Jeremy Lin was for the basketball Knicks.  He’s fun to watch and something for beleaguered fans to get excited about, but he wouldn’t be ranked in, say, the top-30 in the game.

And that in itself is something.

Follow me on Twitter @CharlieHangley.

29 comments for “As the Mets’ season goes dark, Brandon Nimmo and Jacob deGrom are bright lights.

  1. TexasGusCC
    July 12, 2018 at 10:15 am

    Nimmo also seems to be a pretty honest and smart guy. Yesterday after his walk-off HR, while being interviewed over the PA system, he thanked the fans for their support despite the season not going as anyone would have liked. As a fan, I appreciated the honesty and the gratitude. What Mets affiliated person has mentioned this so far? Sure, at the end of the year they always give the obligatory BS, but to say it in the midst of it and acknowledge the obvious was refreshing.

  2. July 12, 2018 at 10:55 am

    I’m really enjoying the season put up by Nimmo after hearing for years how he was a bust and proof that Alderson was lousy at drafting.

    One thing I’m concerned about is the strikeouts. Since May 31, he has 54 Ks in 153 PA for a 35.3K%

    • Chris F
      July 12, 2018 at 11:16 am

      Alderson was lousy at drafting. No doubt about it. His talen evlauation group is a complete bust, Nimmo accounted for. There is no one in any venue (TV, radio, written) saying anything but Mets talent evaluation under Alderson was terrible.

      I encourage you to look at the team, the total number of promotions that are going on by clearly not major leaguers and come to some other conclusion.

      Nimmo is the same as the Flores walk off HR. Super cool when it happens…but rare as a three-legged duck.

      • July 12, 2018 at 11:36 am

        Chris, I’ve written several articles at what teams should expect out of the draft. Alderson has exceeded that, whether you look at total players to reach the majors or starters/impact players. Your expectations are out of whack, doubly so for where he drafted.

        • Chris F
          July 12, 2018 at 11:48 am

          Sure, but I have replied that just because you carved up the promotions as you did does not reflect success in drafting. We are sending up new players that Alderson drafted almost every day now. Does that make them major leaguers? In some sense yes, but not really at all. Add up the WAR. I appreciate your perspective, but feel it is only one measure.

          The Mets have one of the worst teams in baseball. When they need to call up minor leaguers, they almost uniformly are terrible. How does that make the Aldserson drafting “good”? I would call it a near complete bust, and so do a lot of others….!

          • July 12, 2018 at 12:21 pm

            The Mets are drafting better than their division rivals in terms of guys good enough to climb through the system and make the majors. But what about star power? Here are all of the guys drafted by teams that went on to accumulate at least 3.0 bWAR in this time period:

            Nationals – Anthony Rendon (#6 overall pick) 17.3
            Braves – Alex Wood (2nd round), 10.5
            Phillies – Ken Giles (7th round pick) 5.2; Kyle Freeland (35th round) 5.7; Aaron Nola (#7 overall pick) 9.2
            Mets – Michael Conforto (#10 overall) 6.9; Michael Fulmer (#44 overall) 9.0; Seth Lugo (34th round) 3.9
            Marlins – Jose Fernandez (#14 overall) 14.0, Kendall Graveman (36th round) 5.4

            Again, it’s hard to see these division rivals making the Mets look ridiculous. Plus, the Mets are likely to add Brandon Nimmo to this list by the end of the year, as he currently sits with a 2.6 bWAR. Additionally, we’re counting Freeland and Graveman here, even though they did not sign with the NL East club that drafted them. I mean, the Mets drafted Roger Clemens back in 1981 too; do they get credit for that?

            • Chris F
              July 12, 2018 at 12:45 pm

              Braves bWAR:
              Acuna 0.5
              Albies 5.0
              Simmons as a Brave 17.4

              Theres 23 more.

              Sorry, there is no hopscotch that can be played that say Alderson drafted well, or did talent evaluation well. It frustrates me to hear you say otherwise as much as it frustrates you what I say.

              • July 12, 2018 at 12:56 pm

                Neither Acuna nor Albies was drafted.

                Simmons was drafted before Alderson took over.

                • Chris F
                  July 12, 2018 at 1:17 pm

                  Draft with Nimmo:

                  Nimmo bWAR = 3.3

                  Fernandez (next pick in draft) bWAR = 12.8 (until his passing)

                  Joe Panik bWAR = 6.7

                  call it what you will.

                  • July 12, 2018 at 2:18 pm

                    Nimmo was the 13th pick and we can selectively choose guys taken ahead of him, too.

                    #2 pick – never reached the majors
                    #5 pick – never reached the majors
                    #12 pick – 1.1 bWAR

                    Of the top 30 picks in the draft that year, Nimmo has the 16th-most bWAR. And given how long it took for him to get established in the majors, that’s fine. He’s got a chance to move up one or two spots by the completion of 2018 and by the time everyone from the top 30 has retired, he’s got a shot to be in the top 10.

              • Chris F
                July 12, 2018 at 1:10 pm

                Talent evaluation across the board. Its not all drafting. Drafting is linked to pick position.

                Its like saying a hitter is only a good player in the day, against right handers, with a breeze to right field. His talent evaluation was lousy, across the board.

                Look Im excited for Nimmo, and I hope these 2 months are indicative of a career, not a blip. Time will tell. But I look around at the players we have on this team, and theres almost nothing but stench. All that happened on Alderson’s watch.

                • July 12, 2018 at 1:21 pm

                  It’s extremely easy to separate out drafting from international free agent signings. Alderson has done fine in the former. Right now he has not done well with the latter but there’s hope that could change and we won’t be able to give a decent judgment until 5-7 years from now.

                  Internationally, I expect there to be hits from Alderson guys like Rosario, Gimenez, Mauricio, Newton, Santana, et. al so that what looks bad now could change in the future. But it seems safe to say that the early returns from international moves by Alderson were bad.

                  • Chris F
                    July 12, 2018 at 2:03 pm

                    and trades, and FA. A team consists of all of the above.

                    Yes, those are specific…but those were players on the table that Nimmo is behind. Again, Im thirlled for him, and hope hes a 50 win player, but Im not buying Alderson did well drafting, or evaluating talent at *any* level and *all* levels combined.

                    • TexasGusCC
                      July 12, 2018 at 2:17 pm

                      What I want to ask both of you: If Alderson so believed in his players, why did he sign Bruce when he had Nimmo ready for RF and Flores to back-up Smith? Also, where are his minors? Why are they empty to providing decent backups, at least, after he took so many years to “rebuild the farm” and not one team has a winning record? Let me not address how skilled those few players that come up actually are…

                    • Chris F
                      July 12, 2018 at 2:24 pm

                      Thats what my eyes see too Gus. As we should be at the point of seeing his handiwork, all we have is next to nothing.

    • IDRAFT
      July 12, 2018 at 5:54 pm

      Wow. I’m enjoying the season that Nimmo is having too and wish Alderson wasn’t lousy at his job so I could enjoy more good players. But he was so it looks like it’s going to be a while.

      In the meantime I will try to eat right and exercise more.

    • IDRAFT
      July 12, 2018 at 5:56 pm

      People thought he was a bust because he was treated as one by the organization. Otherwise why was Bruce and AGon signed?

  3. Pete In Iowa
    July 12, 2018 at 11:33 am

    “Top 30” talent or not, Nimmo is the exact type of player all winning teams need to have.
    Period.
    DeGrom must be moved. He is quite simply worth too much right now not to do so. Sign him long-term to what end? Without moving him right now, there is almost zero chance the Mets will have the players they will need to be competitive by the time his “long-term” deal is done.
    Move him “across town?” No way. There are plenty of other teams with the talent we would desire to make a deal with. Dodgers, Cubs, and yes, even the Braves if that’s what it takes. Not that I’d advocate moving him in the division, but just for example sake. What top organization wouldn’t love to have him for 3 runs at a championship?

    • TexasGusCC
      July 12, 2018 at 12:23 pm

      I’d rather the Yankees and getting a chance to follow him than having to face him five times a year! Not the Yankees fault the Mets suck, if anything, we need them to bail us out.

  4. Michael
    July 12, 2018 at 11:44 am

    More than happy with the win. Nimmo has been a real pleasant surprise. I’m not I getting too excited though when we had a grand total of 2 hits through 9 innings. Scherzer tonight? Good luck.

  5. July 12, 2018 at 11:53 am

    Reflecting on Sandy’s tenure…..he seldom operated on all Cylinders with a full commitment. Teams are built with a variety of Resources…..””always doing everything”;;;; including FA, International, Trade, Player development. I’d say that the Drafts have been the highlight of his tenure—the trades and FA stuff…and the seeming lack of luck/production from all of it, including a very choppy international presence.

    They have always erred on the side of “winning Trades” and building value…and they seem to be off the beat on recognizing Sequence: for instance, Reyes and Bautista are playing, and Guys who “might” are sitting…some in the Minor Leagues. I don;t care what we think we know—Smith and McNeill should get AB’s Now……. Perform your way in/perform your way out. It’s time!!!!

  6. Mike Walczak
    July 12, 2018 at 1:36 pm

    I like Nimmo and believe he can no a good player on this team got the long term. But Nimmo doesn’t put a scare into anyone when he comes to the plate.

    The team needs to be a mix of young developing players and solid veterans.

    The Mets just don’t have the right mix.

    I go back and forth in my mind about trading deGrom. He is at his highest value that he will ever be with 2 1/2 years of control and an ERA of 1.70. If he was 26 or 27 I would say keep him. But, he is 30. There are trans who will really overpay for him. So, my feeling is that you trade him now. Ouch, I hate to say that, but I don’t see the Mets being too competitive for at least two more years, so by the time they are competitive, deGrom will be 32 and on the verge of leaving.

    How about the Dodgers, Walker Buehler, Alex Verdugo and Keibert Ruiz for deGrom.

    No matter what we do, we have to clean out the dumpster of players who will lead us nowhere.

    If deGrom goes, I want to see all of the junk go too.

    I even read today that Cespedes is willing to give first base a try. I like Ces , but I don’t like players who always get hurt.

    Let’s see where the chips land.

    • July 12, 2018 at 2:30 pm

      The Dodgers reportedly are balking at giving up Verdugo in a Manny Machado deal. I sincerely doubt deGrom is any more enticing than Machado.

      • Pete In Iowa
        July 12, 2018 at 2:41 pm

        In the case of the Dodgers, Machado would be nothing more than a rental. They already have Seeger and Turner long-term at SS and 3B. Therefore, it seems to make perfect sense they would be balking with Verdugo.
        Three pennant runs with deGrom is an entirely different story, especially if Kershaw opts out.

        • Mike Walczak
          July 12, 2018 at 4:46 pm

          Verdugo, Buehler and Ruiz for the pitcher who has the lowest ERA in the majors.

          Or if it is the Yankees, it should be Sheffield, Frazier and Florial.

          I would take either deal.

          • TexasGusCC
            July 13, 2018 at 2:28 am

            Not enough from the Yankees, and I don’t know the Dodgers. Let’s put it this way: Two and a half years of control means alot of wins. When the Mets gave up Fulmer for Cespedes, it was considered a win-win trade, and Cespedes had two months’ control.

            Yankees: Andujar, Frazier, Sheffield, Florian, and Drury. Don’t be afraid to ask. Francesca (big Yankee cheerleader) told a caller a few weeks ago that in order to get deGrom, there would be pain, and there should be. If the Mets can’t get Torres, everyone else should be on the table.

            Mike, this is the best pitcher in baseball right now. The price should be a haul. But you know what? I would do this. My team has tons of hitting but needs a front line starting ace, and who’s going to give me one? The Yankees can afford this price, albeit won’t like it, but WS tickets sure make the pain go away, for the next three years. That’s why they’ll do it!

      • TexasGusCC
        July 12, 2018 at 3:06 pm

        Charlie, are you kidding me? JDG has two and a half years of control whereas Machado is a rental. A rental with bad defensive numbers that refuses to play 3B.

        • Chris F
          July 12, 2018 at 4:40 pm

          +1

  7. Steevy
    July 12, 2018 at 5:39 pm

    Coming into the season Nimmo was pegged as a fifth outfielder behind Juan Lagares.(Not in my opinion though as I had no confidence in Juan Lagares producing with the bat or staying healthy,which he of course did not)

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