Recently, Brandon Nimmo was voted as the second-best LF in MLB. It’s always nice to see players on your favorite team rated so highly. But why is everyone so ready to declare Nimmo as a corner outfielder? Sure, in an ideal world, Nimmo is a corner outfielder. But are the 2024 Mets living in an ideal world?

Harrison Bader is a better defensive player than Nimmo. But with his recent injury history, combined with his career-long mediocre results versus RHP, how many games do you think he’ll play in 2024? And will new manager Carlos Mendoza prefer to keep Nimmo in one spot as much as possible? Will he play Tyrone Taylor in center when Bader is out of the lineup?

Let’s look at these three outfielders and see what the Mets have at their disposal. First will be their games started in CF each of the last three years. Then will be their PA and OPS versus RHP the last three years:

Player CF 23 CF 22 CF 21 PA 23 OPS 23 PA 22 OPS 22 PA 21 OPS 21
Bader 85 77 101 247 .503 255 .669 326 .789
Nimmo 135 148 82 447 .874 439 .808 227 .842
Taylor 5 75 13 162 .706 273 .733 182 .747

Bader has one year in three to recommend him to face RHP. And that’s the only season in his career where he’s cracked a .700 OPS versus righties. Taylor has one year in three to recommend him as a legitimate backup CF. And he has just three starts in center beyond these three years.

Adding to the unknown is how much Starling Marte and DJ Stewart will play in the outfield. Marte isn’t likely to play much in center but the hope is that he’ll be able to play 120 games in right field. And Stewart is probably the last choice to play in the field but you figure he’ll get at least some time in the outfield.

The other thing to consider is how often we should expect all outfielders, regardless of position, to start. Before the 2014 season, I did a 10-year study of games started by Mets outfielders. Here are the numbers:

OF#1 – 135 games
OF#2 – 98 games
OF#3 – 80 games
OF#4 – 59 games
OF#5 – 39 games

Outfield usage for the Mets over the past 10 years

Now, these are the averages. There’s no reason the Mets couldn’t have two outfielders start 130 games. But, for the sake of argument, let’s say this is how it plays out for the 2024 Mets. We’ll give Nimmo 135 starts, Marte 98, Bader 80 and Taylor 59. And maybe you don’t believe Stewart is going to make 39 starts. Feel free to give those to Drew Gilbert or whoever you think might get promoted from the minors.

That still leaves on average 75 starts to divvy out. Maybe those go to the top four outfielders. Or maybe multiple guys from the minors get playing time. Or maybe Jeff McNeil still sees playing time in the outfield corners.

Here’s how it worked for the 2023 Mets:

145 – Nimmo
82 – Marte
57 – McNeil
52 – Mark Canha
52 – Tommy Pham

Pham made 50 starts after the trade last year. If he made those for the Mets, instead, that would have made the starts line up fairly well with the 10-year average.

If Bader makes all 80 of his starts in CF, it seems unlikely to me that Taylor makes the lion’s share of the remaining 82. And if not Taylor, do you think Gilbert makes those starts or is it Nimmo? It’s tough to project starts for hitters, especially given the recent injury issues for Bader, Marte and Nimmo. But let’s do it for grins and giggles. Here is my forecast for CF starts for the 2024 Mets:

80 – Bader
60 – Nimmo
15 – Taylor
7 – Gilbert

Now, if I was filling out the lineup card, Bader likely wouldn’t get 80 starts. But my guess is that he begins the year as the full-time CF and the later the year goes, the fewer starts he gets versus RHP. And if he doesn’t have good BABIP fortune versus LHP, like his .282 mark in 2022 or his .213 mark in 2019, he might lose starts against lefties, too.

Ultimately, if Nimmo makes 80 starts in LF and 60 in CF, it’s fair to call him a left fielder, It’s just weird to think of him that way after seeing him in center so much the past three years.

4 comments on “How many starts in center field will Harrison Bader, Brandon Nimmo and others get in 2024?

  • Metsense

    Nimmo should be the leftfielder and Bader and Taylor should be the centerfielders.
    Taylor is a slightly better than average centerfielder. Leftfield would be less taxing for Nimmo.
    CF Bader 100 Taylor 62 -because Bader has $10m contract .

  • NYM6986

    Nimmo played a pretty good CF last year and also made some spectacular plays. He had a good season at the plate as well in year one of his big contract. If Marte is healthy, I see 110 games in CF for Nimmo. If he’s not, then Nimmo would have to play more in the corner but still get about 80 games in CF.


    Leave Nimmo in center, Nimmo offensive numbers whips both Bader & Taylor or whom ever, and his cf instincts are infectious plus brilliant,as lead off hitter, he (whips) again both of them, specifically getting on base.

    Editor’s Note – Please do not capitalize words in your post, as that is a violation of our Comment Policy

  • T.J.

    I would see Nimmo in CF more around the 40-50 game mark. Of course, that depends on health, especially of a guy like Bader. The Met OF still looks exposed a bit to RH pitching, which they will see most often. Stewart can slip in and add some pop, but the defensive offset can render him Schwarber-like but worse. Joc Peterson would have been a great add, but we are back to Wilponian offseasons now due to Cohen mistakes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The maximum upload file size: 100 MB. You can upload: image, audio, video, document, spreadsheet, interactive, text, archive, code, other. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop file here