Heading into the 2021 season, the Mets were making a big bet on Brandon Nimmo to be their everyday centerfielder. After opting not to throw more money at George Springer in free agency over the winter, Nimmo was the defacto centerfield option for the team at the start of the season.
It is no secret that since the start of 2018, Nimmo’s breakout season, he has been one of the better players on the team. A machine at working long at-bats and getting on base, Nimmo is a key piece at the top of the Mets’ lineup.
The biggest issue for Nimmo throughout this major league career has been staying on the field for long periods of time and not getting injured. This was once again the case in 2021, as Nimmo found himself on the injured list just a month into the season with a left index finger bone bruise. The injury kept him out for over eight weeks, and was a big blow to the Mets’ offense. Before the injury, Nimmo had been off to a torrid start of the season, slashing .338/.440/.507 and looking like one of the best centerfielders in baseball.
After a couple of setbacks, Nimmo returned to the lineup on July 2nd, and instantly reignited the Mets’ offense. That, along with Francisco Lindor getting hot, gave the Mets a formidable 1-2 punch at the top of the order heading into the All-Star break, as fans hoped for a second half run from the team to put away the NL East.
As we all know, this is not what ended up happening, as Francisco Lindor got hurt in the first game of the second half, and Nimmo was left alone at the top of the order while much of the rest of the Mets’ lineup struggled as the team plummeted to irrelevancy.
Overall, in the second half of the season, Nimmo’s numbers declined slightly, as he hit .273/.394/.810 in 60 games. This included another stint on the injured list in September with a strained hamstring, meaning Nimmo appeared in just 92 games for the season, with only 386 plate appearances.
Despite this, Nimmo still led all Mets position players in fWAR, posting an impressive 3.5 wins above replacement, in less than the 100 games he played. He also had a wRC+ of 137, second best on the team, behind only Javy Báez’s wRC+ in the 47 games he played for the team after being traded to New York.
At the end of the season, Nimmo’s line was still an impressive .292/.401/.437, proving he is one of the best in baseball at getting on base consistently. His power numbers were down from both his breakout 2018 season, and 2020, hitting just 8 homers this year and it’s fair to wonder if his more impressive power numbers from 2018 and ‘20 will return.
Going forward, if the Mets have hopes of competing at the top of the NL East, they’ll need a healthy Brandon Nimmo at the top of his game, getting on base and working long at-bats. It will also be important for the team to have a viable backup centerfield option, as Nimmo has proven he struggles staying on the field for the duration of a 162 game season. But if there’s anything we know for certain, it’s that when Nimmo is on the field and in the lineup, he is one of the best players on the Mets, and has the the potential to be one of the best outfielders in all of baseball.