The Mets have a found a spot on the roster for Brandon Nimmo, summoning their first-round pick from 2011 (the first pick of the Sandy Alderson era) to the majors to replace the struggling Michael Conforto. Nimmo, an extremely raw player who didn’t have a high school baseball team to play on in , became the highest ever pick out of Wyoming at 13th overall. His calling card quickly became his keen eye at the plate, and he has maintained walk rates of at least 10% at all but two of his minor league stops.
We ranked Nimmo #4 in our preseason top 25 prospect lists, and you can read Greg Karam’s discussion of Nimmo here. That ranking came before Nimmo’s breakout performance in Triple-A this year, where he’s hit .331/.413/.514 with five homers and five steals, good for a 149 wRC+. He’s been even hotter of late, hitting .388/.459/.612 in the June. Those numbers come with a big caveat, however, as the Pacific Coast League is notorious for inflating offensive numbers, and Nimmo is currently running a .394 BABIP on the season.
Nimmo’s stock has gradually slipped since 2011 in the eyes of many Mets fans, both due to a lack of development and prospect fatigue. He’s never really grown into the power that many projected him for when he was first drafted, hitting fewer than 10 home runs at and running ISOs below .160 at each level before pushing his ISO over .180 this season. His defense has also declined to the point where he isn’t an everyday option in center, and several lower-body injuries over the years have sapped his speed.
That being said, there’s still a major league player in here. He’ll probably never have an impact corner bat, nor will he have the defense for center, but Nimmo’s plate discipline should allow him to post above-average on-base percentages in the major leagues. Even if he’s eventually relegated to the long half of a platoon or even a bench role, that skill set has value at the top of a lineup.
It’s also worth remembering that Nimmo is only 23 and is actually younger (by 26 days) than Conforto. It’s unlikely he displaces Conforto from his spot in left field long-term, but Nimmo can contribute to the Mets’ pennant race right now and be a useful piece for years to come.