Nick Plummer went through peaks and valleys before joining the Mets organization as a free agent prior to the lockout.
The 25 year old, who instantly slotted in as a top ten prospect in the Mets’ system upon signing (including at number eight here at Amazin’ Avenue), came from the Cardinals system, where he faced his fair share of frustrations. Taken 23rd overall by St. Louis in 2015 after a strong tour on the showcase circuit before his senior year, which he followed up with an excellent year in high school, Plummer struggled to find his footing in pro ball. He hit .228/.379/.344 in Rookie ball in 2015, and missed all of 2016 due to injury. He did not fare any better in 2017, hitting .198/.353/.288 in Single-A. He repeated Single-A in 2018 and did not do much better, hitting .205/.349/.339. He got promoted the following year and promptly hit .177/.312/.294 in High-A.
The Cardinals decided (understandably so) to change his swing prior to the 2020 season, but we never got to saw the effects, because we lost the minor leagues that year due to COVID-19. We did, however, see the changes in 2021 and they definitely worked. Plummer hit .280/.415/.479 across Double-A and Triple-A, in what only can be described as a marketed improvement. However, due to a career of nonperformance and other prospects taking priority, the Cardinals did not place him on the 40 man roster and he elected free agency, which brings us to his season preview.
Plummer signed with the Mets in late November of last year, and it was shrewd signing. The Mets upper minors outfield depth is virtually empty, as Khalil Lee is the only outfield prospect of note at Triple-A Syracuse. While there is a long history of poor offensive performance from Plummer, the swing change and the subsequent strong offensive season in 2021 make him, at the very least, interesting.
For Plummer, signing with the Mets presents a myriad of opportunities for him, for many of the same reasons. Because of the lack of upper minors depth, his path to the majors is much more clearer in Queens than it would be in some other organizations. The major league roster itself has a huge need for an outfielder —at the time of this writing, the fourth outfielder options include Jeff McNeil (the starting second baseman), Dom Smith (not an outfielder) and J.D. Davis (really not an outfielder), and the only upper minors outfield prospect of note is the aforementioned Khalil Lee. If Plummer has a strong camp and/or a strong start to the season at Syracuse, it is not out of the realm of possibility that he is will the Mets sooner rather than later. Plummer is a name to keep an eye on during the lockout shortened Spring Training and throughout the minor league season for exactly that reason.
For the Mets, Plummer represents a chance to get in on (almost) the ground floor with a player who make strides to improve himself. For Plummer, the Mets represent a rather clear path to the major leagues.