On Monday, Mets outfielder Brandon Nimmo made his first start since May after recovering from a neck injury. The 26-year-old has come a long way from what he described when his neck “completely froze up.” In his first start back, Nimmo showed the club what he does best by getting on base three times via two walks and a double. The Mets certainly can use this new reinforcement to bolster their lineup, providing roster flexibility where guys like J.D. Davis and Jeff McNeil can shift to the infield as needed.
Throughout his career, Brandon Nimmo has been an on-base machine which has resulted in an exceptional wRC+ (weighted runs created plus). Most notably, he posted a 149 rating just last year which was good for sixth best in the majors right between Alex Bregman and Jose Ramirez. A high level review of this statistic, as described by Fangraphs, is to ”measure a batter’s value using a cumulative statistic that credits a player for total production rather than on an at bat by at bat basis” or more simply put “a measure of how many runs a player contributed to his team with their bat.” wRC+ is park and league adjusted which also transcends time. Why is this important? For the Mets, who are clawing their way into the playoff picture and rank 8th in the National League in runs scored, every run is pivotal.
Nimmo is looking to put the start of his 2019 season behind him; ever since his chicken was undercooked and he missed time in the preseason, he has seemed ‘off.’ In the 43 games prior to the neck injury, Nimmo posted a paltry .200/.344/.323 slash line, far removed from his breakout 2018 campaign. Amazingly, despite the poor hitting, he still owns a respectable OBP and wRC+ on the season which have since worked their way to .359 and 98 respectively in just the two games since he was activated. In his two starts, Nimmo is 2 for 5 with a double and a home run, three walks and two runs scored. The Mets have scored 17 runs across both of those games and were lined up to win them both if not for a ninth inning implosion last night. If Nimmo can round into his vintage form it seems as though the club will continue to put up runs, which is right what the doctor ordered for the resurgent pitching staff.
It doesn’t take much to notice that the Mets lack a true center fielder and are stocked with an excess of corner outfield depth. Nimmo fits into this category as his career UZR in center field is much worse than either of the corner slots. It will be interesting to see how Nimmo performs over the final 24 games of the season. We know that his name came up in trade conversations last offseason and they would certainly continue to do so with only Yasiel Puig and Marcell Ozuna leading the list of upcoming free agent outfielders. Flipping Nimmo for either third base or center field help would improve the Mets lineup construction, leaving the corners for J.D. Davis and Michael Conforto. Of course, retaining their home-grown talent who plays baseball the right way and always with a smile would be nice too.