Before the 2018 season, Amazin’ Avenue ranked Tomas Nido as the 9th-best prospect in the Mets’ system. It’s a potentially useful but unexciting profile: excellent catcher defense, occasional pop, and a total lack of plate discipline that makes the whole offensive skill set play down. There was some hope for the offensive output given a big year in 2016, but a poor follow-up in 2017 dampened those expectations.
Nido lived up to that billing in every way—good and bad. He was one of the best framing catchers in baseball, saving 3.5 runs in just under 1,500 framing chances—the 12th-best rate in the league, and he was solid in the other, less important aspects of catcher defense.
On the other side of the ball, though, Nido was a disaster, striking out in 30% of his at-bats, drawing only four walks, and posting an anemic 20 wRC+ with one home run over 90 PA. There may have been some batted ball misfortune there, as Nido had just a .242 BABIP, but he didn’t make particularly good contact.
Jeff Mathis has had a 13-year career as an all-glove, no-bat catcher, and even he’s never been quite as bad at the plate as Nido was in 2018. That should offer some context for just how much Nido will need to improve as a hitter in order to be a viable major league catcher.
There’s hope for improvement, of course. Nido is only 24, has only 100 major league PAs, and plays a position that is often subject to slow development paths. It’s unlikely he’ll ever be an offensive force, but putting up even a 70 or 80 wRC+ would make him a useful backup catcher when combined with his stellar defense. Getting there will require significant changes to Nido’s batted ball mix and approach at the plate, however, and his major league peripherals weren’t particularly different from the numbers he put up at Double-A over the past two seasons.
Entering 2018, Nido should be ticketed for Triple-A, where he’ll hopefully get more development time while serving as the third catcher on the 40-man roster. Ideally, the Mets will sign someone this winter, allowing Nido to continue getting full time at-bats in the minor leagues until he’s ready for another major league chance.