Mets 2019 projections: Brandon Nimmo

What a difference a year makes. This time last year, significantly more people thought that Brandon Nimmo was a bust than those who thought he was a major league regular. And then not only did he remove the bust label from his name, he went out and finished second in the league in OBP (.404) and OPS+ (150) and recorded a top 10 finish in 11 different offensive categories. And for good measure, his .996 fielding percentage was third among NL outfielders.

He advanced so much last year that this offseason, the majority of fans blanched at the idea of including him in trades for either Corey Kluber or J.T. Realmuto. Despite the rumors, Nimmo was not sent packing and manager Mickey Callaway said last month that Nimmo “needs to be leading off” in 2019. That’s good to hear, as Nimmo batted in a spot other than leadoff 75 times, compared to 65 games when he was atop the lineup card.

Last year was a magical season for Nimmo but it did not come without some warning signs, including a 26.2 K% and a .351 BABIP. Among the top 30 hitters last year in OBP, Nimmo had the highest strikeout percentage. Paul Goldschmidt was close with a 25.1 K% but he had 33 HR compared to Nimmo’s 17. Cand Nimmo whiff at this rate – and without a big power factor – and maintain his production?

And his BABIP was the 15th-highest in baseball. Only two players who were in the top 20 in BABIP in 2017 repeated the ranking in 2018. Some thought Avisail Garcia was finally putting it together with his big 2017 season. But he was unable to duplicate his .392 BABIP of that season, dropping to a .271 mark last year. Tim Beckham went from a .365 mark to a .282 one. Trey Mancini dropped 67 points. Fans of those teams thought those guys were on the path to something big. And it didn’t turn out to be the case at all.

So, what do the computer models think of Nimmo’s chances in 2019? We’ve got a new entry to include this week, as Derek Carty’s THE BAT forecasts are now available on individual pages at FanGraphs.

THE BAT – 601 PA, .240/.351/.407, 18 HR, 61`RBIs
Marcel — 489 PA, .262/.380/.447, 14 HR, 47 RBIs
Steamer – 588 PA, .240/.353/.398, 15 HR, 53 RBIs

Carty’s system also sees Nimmo putting up a higher K% than a year ago, with a 27.2 mark. Steamer sees a slight improvement, with a 25.6 rate. Neither of them sees the BABIP of a year ago, although both have him with above average marks. THE BAT sees a .317 BABIP while Steamer forecasts a .312 mark. For what it’s worth, Nimmo has a .355 lifetime mark in the majors, in 830 PA.

Here’s my completely biased take on Nimmo for 2019:

650 PA, .265/.375/.450, 11 HR, 52 RBIs

The home run category is the hardest one for me to make a guess. Nimmo had 13 HR in the first half of last year and only four after the All-Star break. But as weird as that was, what’s even stranger is that he posted a higher OPS in the second half of the season, with a .917 mark compared to an .863 one in the first half of the year. He hit for a slightly better AVG but what really drove that second half OPS was an insane .446 OBP

My expectation is that the power goes down but the strikeouts go down, too. And while the BABIP drops, it does not come close to the drop expected by the computer models. My forecast would be a really good year. But it wouldn’t be a 150 OPS+ season. How will the fans react if Nimmo puts up a 125 OPS+ this year, instead?

You’ll have more credibility in the future if you chime in now with what you think Nimmo will do this year. Next week, Zack Wheeler goes under the forecast microscope.

12 comments for “Mets 2019 projections: Brandon Nimmo

  1. January 23, 2019 at 12:27 pm

    Steamer and the bat seems like they put stock in his 2016 with limited at bats rather than his excellent second half in 2017, and his elite 2018 season. I would gladly take the Marcel projections, which seem more reality based. Nimmo got hit by 22 pitches last year and I see that hopefully going down as he somehow escaped serious hand injuries twice somehow. I have him at 258/ 380/460

  2. Brendan Vachris
    January 23, 2019 at 1:24 pm

    Many people around baseball do not realize just how productive Nimmo was in 2018. He was 6th in the majors in wRC+, 17th in OPS (just 3 points behind soon to be $100 million man Bryce Harper), and 9th in wOBA. All of this was in his first full season. While the BABIP numbers are concerning, even with a little regression Nimmo could become a true household name in 2019.

    • Name
      January 23, 2019 at 2:30 pm

      Tommy Pham in 2017 was 8th in the majors in wRC+, 16th in OPS, and 11th in wOBA.

      Unless you play fantasy, I bet you do not know who he is.

      • Brendan Vachris
        January 23, 2019 at 10:56 pm

        Good point, more people should play fantasy!

      • TJ
        January 24, 2019 at 6:35 am

        Rooting for the Mets to win is enough fantasy baseball for me.

  3. Artie
    January 23, 2019 at 3:29 pm

    Nimmo’s k’s come because he is looking for walks. The old little league saying a walk is as good as a hit has merit. You gotta take the good with the bad.

    • Chris F
      January 23, 2019 at 6:44 pm

      I think the BB are a joke. Ive never seen a player socre from second when the batter walks. I’ll take the hit.

      I get the point of course, but Im utterly sick of hearing about walks as some sort of paragon of baseball virtue.

  4. footballhead
    January 23, 2019 at 4:53 pm

    I’ll put my 2cents worth for what I think Nimmo will do in 2019. I’ll preface it my assuming that he’ll be batting leadoff all year and that he’ll still draw a lot of BBs. I didn’t realize that he was HBP so often, so thank you Mr Klein for that info.

    PA 675 Avg .265 OBP .390-400 HR 12 RBI 59 and he’ll score +90xs

    Let’s hope that no injuries to him keeps us from enjoying his great smile.

  5. Chris F
    January 23, 2019 at 6:31 pm

    115 +/- 5 OPS+

  6. TexasGusCC
    January 23, 2019 at 11:24 pm

    I’ll gladly take the over, expecting him to be smart enough to not lean into pitches and play hurt like he did when Rich Hill gleefully hit him three times – injuring Nimmo – when only two counted and then laughed about it in the Dodgers clubhouse afterwards because the chicken shit Mets did nothing about it. Hopefully, Riggleman brings a set of testicles to the coaching staff.

    So a healthier and smarter Nimmo:
    .282/.405/.493 .333 BABIP, 704 PAs and a 20% K rate.

    • MattyMets
      January 25, 2019 at 11:39 pm

      I appreciate Nimmo’s patience at the plate but I’d like to see him be just a bit more aggressive. If he bats lead off all year with better protection following him, he’ll see more fastballs and more strikes.

  7. TexasGusCC
    January 27, 2019 at 12:20 am

    As Mel Allen would say, “How bout that?” Nimmo goes from a kid they didn’t think too much of, to a player ranked #6 in the MLBN Right Fielder rankings. Good for you Brandon. Onto bigger and better.

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