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2016 Mets season preview: Brandon Nimmo

The 2011 first-round pick must overcome injury and some prospect fatigue to reach his ceiling.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Entering 2015, Brandon Nimmo seemed to be a prospect on the rise after demolishing Advanced-A and holding his own at Double-A in 2014. The rawness from not playing high school baseball in Wyoming finally seemed to have passed, and his swing tweaks were letting him tap into his hidden raw power. Perhaps Nimmo could deliver on his first-round promise after all.

Nimmo's star has definitely dimmed since then. He walked less and hit only two home runs in 302 plate appearances at Double-A last year, hindered by a knee injury that forced him to miss some time. The walks returned and the power improved when Nimmo was promoted to Triple-A, but Las Vegas is notorious for inflating offensive stats. His .264/.393/.418 line there was hardly world-breaking. Add in that Nimmo's speed has continued to decline, potentially limiting his ability to play CF, and putting even more pressure on his bat.

The injury bug bit Nimmo again prior to spring training, when he tore a tendon in his foot and was forced into the infamous boot. He didn't record a single at bat in major league camp before being demoted to the minor league side and got into his first game on March 22. Nimmo had very little chance of making the Opening Day roster given the Mets' crowded outfield and service time considerations, but he is probably the first outfielder on the depth chart in case of injury. Given that he reportedly tweaked his swing again this offseason, it's disappointing that he didn't get to face major league pitchers in spring training.

All that negativity aside, it's too soon to write off Nimmo just yet. His rawness out of high school is no longer a valid explanation for his lack of production, but Nimmo can take a walk and still handles center field just fine. Nimmo also shows a decent amount of raw power in batting practice, and there's always a chance his latest swing tweaks will let him tap into that during games. That profile certainly isn't something you want as a primary center field option or even the long half of a platoon, but Nimmo should serve as an above-average sixth outfielder if any of the Mets starters go down for an extended period.