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Brandon Nimmo looks to stay productive, and healthy, in 2022

Nimmo hopes to finally stay healthy going into his walk year with the New York Mets.

MLB: Spring Training-New York Mets-Workouts Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

While production has never been Brandon Nimmo’s issue — he is a career .266/.393/.445 (136 wRC+) hitter in 1695 plate appearances — his ability to stay on the field has been frequently questioned, and with good reason. As I mentioned in my designated hitter article, Nimmo has appeared in just 356 of the Mets’ last 546 games, with 140 of those coming in 2018 alone. That is, strictly, not what you want.

His health going forward is of great importance to everyone involved. The 2022 Mets are going to be heavily reliant on Nimmo to be the hitter he typically has been when he has been on the field. While he is likely to cede center field duties, and might even cede lead off duties, to newly acquired Starling Marte, his importance does not change to the team — he is going to be relied upon to work counts and get on base at his typical incredible rate.

On a personal level, staying healthy could make Nimmo a nice bit of money. He is in his walk year, and, while he stated this spring that he is willing to talk extension, it is unclear how his past health issues will affect the Mets’ thinking in extending him. A full season of health at his strong level of production would likely raise his price significantly — and another injury torn season would likely hurt his pockets, and might even change who is interested in him should he hit the open market.

On the field, he will want to build on a strong 2021. He hit .292/.401/.437 (137 wRC+) over 92 games, which would have led the team if he qualified (spoiler alert: he did not have enough at bats to do so). Defensively was probably his biggest surprise, and it was a good one at that. He posted a -4 DRS in 2020 in center field, but, due to the roster construction, came into 2021 the everyday center fielder regardless of the poor defensive fit. He acquitted himself more than well, however, in the 2021 campaign, notching a +4 DRS in center, marking a huge defensive turnaround. While he still is likely to be kicked to a corner for the aforementioned Marte, his improved defense should stay at a less demanding position.

The Brandon Nimmo season preview is largely like all the Brandon Nimmo season previews that came before this one. He is a good, if not great, baseball player, and it is hard to deny that; the offense speaks for itself, and if the defensive improvements from 2021 stick, he could be put together a very strong season. However, he simply is never healthy, and he will be 29 by the time the 2022 season gets underway. While injuries are finicky and it takes just a year or two of injury free baseball to kind of shake that injury prone label, he still has to prove he is capable of playing 130 or more games, something he has only done once as a major leaguer.