While waiting to hear how bad the Edwin Diaz news is, what better time to look at the most positive player on the Mets in Brandon Nimmo. The seemingly annual question of how many games Nimmo can play was answered last year with a career-high 151 games. He missed some time while on the Covid IL but that was about it. Nimmo was so encouraged by last year’s health that he’s trying to duplicate everything he did a season ago. That meant bypassing the WBC – mercifully – and delaying his start to Grapefruit League action. However, the computer models don’t care about those things. Here’s what they project for Nimmo this season:

ATC – 615 PA, .271/.373/.427, 15 HR
Marcel – 575 PA, .272/.366/.427, 14 HR
RotoCh – 600 PA, .275/.374/.435, 15 HR
Steamer – 667 PA, .269/.368/.427, 17 HR
THE BAT – 615 PA, .272/.373/.427, 15 HR
ZiPS – 575 PA, .270/.371/.419, 13 HR

You have to go back to 2019 to find a season where one of the projection systems forecasted 600 or more PA for Nimmo and that year THE BAT had him for 601. So, it’s encouraging to see four of our six systems see him reaching the 600-PA threhold. The models all tend to agree on the rest of his numbers, too. It’s just a little surprising to me that a guy who has a .281 AVG the last three seasons doesn’t have a higher AVG forecast for his age-30 season.

In addition to playing time, the models have traditionally underestimated Nimmo’s OPS, too. At least until last season, when they pretty much nailed his performance. You hear the pundits talk about how last year was the best offensive season for Nimmo. But the only way that’s true is if your focus is limited to counting stats. The ratios tell a different story. His OPS has gone from .888 to .838 to .800 going backwards from 2020. His OPS+ has gone from 145 to 130 in the same time span.

Nimmo has been one of my favorite Mets for years, due to his ability to do just about everything. But it’s been disappointing for me to see his ISO the past two seasons. After putting up a .208 ISO from 2018-2020, Nimmo posted marks of .145 and .159 the past two years. Much like with Jeff McNeil, it will be curious to see if banning the shift will help Nimmo, as he won’t go to the plate looking to slap a ball into an open hole.

Unlike McNeil, several of Nimmo’s slap hits last year went for extra-bases, so it seems he won’t enjoy as big of a jump in production with the new rules as perhaps his teammate will.

The drop in ISO the past two seasons is at least partially explained by injuries. When Nimmo returned from his hand/finger injury in 2021, he had a .097 ISO in his first 223 PA after being activated. And then last season he injured his wrist in May and received a cortisone injection, which allowed him to play thru the injury. But Nimmo had just a .095 in 132 PA in this time period. In September last season, he had a .197 ISO.

Can Nimmo play 150 games again in 2023? Can he avoid the nagging hand and wrist injuries that have sapped his power for long stretches the past two seasons? Will he change his hitting philosophy with the new shift rules? I’m going to continue to be bullish on Nimmo. Here’s my totally biased forecast for 2023:

688 PA, .298/.407/.495, 20 HR

6 comments on “Mets 2023 projections: Brandon Nimmo

  • Denis Engel

    He’s a very easy player to like. He hustles. He does a lot of little things that might get overlooked. He plays with enthusiasm. What can’t be captured in statistics is the effect he has on other players both in the girls and in the lineup. He makes others better by putting them in positions to have an impact. I hope he plays well for the whole eight years of his new contract.

  • NYM6986

    600 PA .305/.400/.450 22HR
    I think this is a big breakout season for Nimmo. I’m so bullish I think he’ll actually try to steal some bases and crack a few more HRs from the lead off spot. Nothing like a quick run to delete the opposition.

  • Footballhead

    Mayhaps I’m a bit hungover re: the news about Diaz….(though I don’t think it “dooms” the Mets); so I’m not as bullish on Nimmo. I would like him to be as healthy as last year, but I think he’ll miss a months worth of games.

    PA 565 .275/.375/.435 & 17 HR

  • Metsense

    In the National league, Nimmo was the all around best centerfielder last year. He will have a better season this year. Eight years and at 38 is too long for a center fielder is be defensively productive, but with his bat skills and a later transition to left field, he will be a good player throughout his contract. He has a good work ethic and a good attitude.

    646 PA .280/.385/447 16 HR

  • Steve_S.

    Great attitude! Busts a gut every time at bat and in the field! Articulate! What’s not to like?! Hopefully, he stays healthy. I don’t like his hands-first sliding, which started last year though.

    625 PA, .288/.400/.435, 18 HR

  • JimmyP

    I agree that the narrative that last year was a breakout season was lazy, at best.

    I believe that part of his strategy going into last season was to do everything possible to stay healthy — and not running was a big part of that.

    I’d love to see him become a 20-homer guy. Why not?

    Shift or not, Nimmo showed a skill for taking an outside pitch and directing it down the 3B line for a double. That gap will still be there in 2023.

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