With a smile that shines brighter than any floodlight he plays under, Brandon Nimmo has become a fan favorite through his hustle and pure delight at playing the game of baseball. Fans of the New York Mets have become accustomed to his penchant for getting on base, and for his signature sprint to first base after he draws a walk. While Nimmo is undoubtedly one of the more charming players in baseball, it is possible that his mishaps in center field have begun to outweigh his productivity at the plate. With recent defensive stats being released on Monday to the public, the metrics echo that sentiment.

According to the MLB, OAA (Outs Above Average) is a range-based metric of skill that shows how many runs a player has saved. The positive Mets fan will look at the report and report what we have been watching all season. It comes as no surprise to see that Andres Gimenez is ranked amongst the best defensive infielders in the game, with an OAA of 4. This is a mark shared with the likes of Fernando Tatis Jr. and Francisco Lindor. A more pessimistic fan will look at Nimmo’s rating of -4 and see that he is tied for the worst OAA amongst outfielders.

While this seems extremely alarming, Michael Conforto has registered a rating of -3. The difference between the two players however is that Conforto has put up a campaign that has earned him a spot in the NL MVP conversation while Nimmo has been pedestrian at best with the bat in his hand. While it is not fair that Nimmo is being forced to play in an outfield position that is unnatural to him, his offense this season has not warranted sacrificing centerfield defense to keep his bat in the lineup.

The calling card of Nimmo’s career is that he has always been able to reach base, and his OBP is ranked 10th in the NL at a mark of .388. Ironically, this mark puts him third on the team, behind Conforto and the resurgent Jeff McNeil. Nimmo ranks high in the NL in other offensive categories that you’d expect, tied for 7th in walks, 16th in hits, and 17th in total bases. While it is fantastic that the Mets have an outfield that is producing at a high clip offensively, they have never needed a defensively competent outfield as much as they do now.

The pitching staff of the Mets needs all the help that they can get, and it will be the same case next season. The offense won’t always be able create an 18-run security blanket like they did on September 11th, so it is crucial that they put up a defense that is able to make plays behind a rotation that’s only consistency is Jacob deGrom every five starts. Nimmo can’t be considered a solid option at center field behind pitchers who give up hits like the Mets rotation does. The issue is that he can’t be moved to the corners because of the offensive prowess of Conforto and McNeil, along with the terrific defense that McNeil has brought to the outfield.

Because of this logjam in the corners, it might be worth considering Nimmo more valuable to the Mets as a trade piece than as a center fielder on the team. There would be teams interested in the way that Nimmo can reach base, and could play him naturally in his corner spot. This would open up a roster spot for the Mets to acquire someone who could adequately play centerfield, and hold the spot until Peter Crow-Armstrong graduates to the big leagues.

The fact of the matter is that strong defense always begins up the middle. As of right now, the Mets have Gimenez as their strongest middle infielder, which is a great start. They still need to work on the catcher position, which is something that can be addressed this offseason by Steve Cohen with the addition of J.T. Realmuto, should he be healthy by the time the offseason rolls around. That leaves centerfield in need of a defensive overhaul, where the Mets have not had a solid defender that could wield a good bat since Carlos Beltran.

It is inarguable that Nimmo can be an offensive catalyst in a lineup, but his poor defense in centerfield is not worth what he brings to the plate offensively. It would be ideal for the Mets to somehow find a way to get Nimmo in one of the corners on a regular basis, but that seems unlikely. For that reason, Nimmo is more valuable to the Mets as a trade piece rather than as a center fielder that consistently has his on base skills overshadowed by his inability to play that position defensively.

Nimmo has a -4 OAA
Nimmo is 10th in the NL with an OBP of .388
Nimmo is tied for 7th in the NL in walks

12 comments on “Nimmo most valuable to Mets as a trade chip

  • Chris F

    I agree Matt. Ultimately Nimmo is a net loss for the Mets in holding back the team from pursuing a Center fielder and playing poorly in CF. I agree his offense cannot offset the defense or ultimately the lack of a complete skills set. I wonder about him as an every day coroner OF, as I’m not sure he really profiles for a corner, but I would entertain offers for sure. Really, he needs to play designated lead off hitter.

  • Rich

    Editor’s Note – This post deleted for violating our Comment Policy.

    • José

      I was OK with your first two paragraphs, though your second was much better than your first

      You really started losing me with your third

      However, your fourth paragraph indicates that this is probably not the place for you.

      Now don’t jump down my throat because, in fact, I’m consistently worse on Eww-Toob than what you’ve displayed here.

      But I look at this site as sanctuary from the rampant hostility on the internet, and would like to keep it that way.

      I’m gonna speak for everyone (which I rarely do) and ask you to tone it way the hell down if you wish to continue

    • TJ

      Gotta back up Jose here, much better to keep it civil, especially among fellow Met fans.

      I will disagree with calling Nimmo’s 2020 season pedestrain, even relative to Conforto’s. Both playersa re having exxcellent seasons, and as Brian pointed out, the difference in BABIP is propelling Conforto’s average.

      Nimmo gets knocked because of his CF range and weak arm, and both criticisms are legit. He belongs in LF. He may not have 30 HR power, but he has legit 20 HR power, and his hit tool is elite given his discerning eye and approach. He splits vs LHP do raise some concern as to committing to him as an everyday player. In the end, he fits the description of a 3/4 OF with versatility.

      An annual contending, large market team should be able to keep a home-grown Conforto and Nimmo, and still seek a premium CF. Nimmo, like anyone else, is tradable if it makes sense, but he isn’t responsible for the roster, and knocking him for playing CF is a bit unfair.

  • Metsense

    The offense of the Mets is very good but their defense needs to improve at catcher, second base and centerfield. Nimmo is a valuable trade chip with his “pedestrian” career OPS+ 131. Nimmo as a left fielder has a 5 Career DRS. This is better than the “terrific defense” of McNeil in LF (3 Career DRS). McNeil (career 142 OPS+) and his versatility at other positions makes him the better player. This year, Nimmo is MLB ranked 7th in wRC+ as a left fielder. Nimmo is a very good left fielder unfortunately he is playing out of position.
    McNeil has a career 5 DRS at 3B. JD has a career -18 DRS. (-7 DRS 2020). If defensive is the primary objective then put Nimmo LF, McNeil 3B, obtain a CF and use Davis as the trade chip.

  • Bob P

    I think that you are selling Nimmo short. A lot of people think he’s a 4th outfielder but he has a career OPS+ of 131. If any team has 3 OFs better than that they are in great shape.

    With that said Dalton, your article is good and we just have different opinions. Don’t pay any attention to the ignorant morons that feel the need to call you uneducated and a loser. The people who need to say that about others have a reason, and that’s to boost their own insecurities.

    Rich, please find another site to display your lack of class.

    Nice job Dalton.

  • Mike W

    I didnt get to read the disparaging post. I am glad it was deleted. I love this site because it always stirs debate. I think Nimmo is really worth keeping. His value will shine when the Mets hitting drops back to earth next year. Plus, let’s face it, somebody will get hurt. But I do agree, we need a real good center fielder. But, who?

    Should be a fun offseason with a new Boss in New York.

    One thing I loved about this season. There are dozens of prospects who got major league playing time. In any other season, they would still be in the minors. We would probably have never seen Peterson or Gimenez.

    I like the DH and I think a 28 man roster makes sense.

    • José

      You didn’t miss anything much, Mike. He made some good points about Nimmo, which I totally agree with. I know I’m not as sabermetrically savvy as the rest of you, but personally, I’d rather have Nimmo than Conforto, but that may have more to do with Boras being Conforto’s agent.

      Other than that, the post was just pure hostility. I mean, he made inferences in his insult that he couldn’t possibly justify.

      This all reminds me of why I enjoy this site so much. I often feel like the remedial classmate, but these are just my feelings because nobody here rubs it in (or even makes subtle remarks at my expense). And it amuses me to no end that I view myself this way.

      That’s because, well, with all due modesty….

      I hold undergrad degrees in both chemistry and physics, and a grad degree in abstract math… just in case I’ve never mentioned it

  • Eric H Kench

    Nimmo has yet to have a 500 AB full season in the majors. Then again you might consider his 2018 seaon, when he had 433 bats, as a full season. Had it not been for his abilities as a leadoff hitter he would be considered a 4th outfielder. At this point I would settle for a defensive replacement in the late innings until they find another good leadoff hitter who can get on base. Conforto has looked much better exhibiting a strong throwing arm in right field. But what amazes me the most is that McNeil, who came up as an infielder, is their best defensive outfielder in left field, which is the most difficult of the three outfield positions. Their best trade chip at this point in time is Rosario.

  • Edwin e Pena

    Hate to admit it because I am a Nimmo fan, who isn’t ?? However, this article is spot on. Nimmo could bring a SP and possibly a decent prospect CF, which he is not. Mets are trying to get away with Nims in CF, but he is mediocre there at best. In LF, Mets have options in Dom, JD, McNeil. RF belongs to Conforto, period. If there is a sexy name for CF as a free agent, that’s one thing, or perhaps a vet with strong glove like K. Pillar, something like that can take over CF in 2021. Nimmo can bring a piece (or more) Mets need – SP.

    • Bob P

      You feel that Nimmo is good enough to bring a SP and a CF prospect but you’d rather have Kevin Pilllar and his career 88 OPS+ in CF rather than Nimmo and his 131 OPS+?

  • Joe Vasile

    It’s tough, because I see Nimmo as a very valuable player for the Mets moving forward in what he brings offensively. I don’t think the Mets should be in a hurry to trade him, but I agree with you that I wouldn’t hesitate to include him in a deal which addresses a greater team need. The logjam at the corners is just too great.

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