Mets centerfielder Brandon Nimmo is tracking a path to MLB superstardom. His is one of those intriguing baseball stories…
Brandon Nimmo never wavered in his dream to be a major league ballplayer. When he was two years old, he always seemed to have a ball or bat in his hand on a tee. His mom, Patti, never tired of playing catch with Nimmo in the backyard of their Cheyenne, Wyoming, home.
In the evening, when his dad, Ron Nimmo, returned from work as a CPA, he would take over playing a game with Brandon where the rules said the youngster had to catch 100 tosses in a row. If he missed one, say at 97, the game would switch back to zero and reset.
While Wyoming is not known as a hotbed for baseball, Brandon Nimmo remembers it this way:
“Ever since I can remember, I’ve had a bat in my hands. I remember my dad, we would play catch, and he would always throw me different pitches and tell me, ‘Hey, tell me what pitch that is.’ And my mom would give me the Windup Wilma — my mom would go out and throw balls to me, and I’d hit them. It was always just a family bonding experience.”
Harboring dreams of being drafted in 2011, Nimmo knew of only one team expressing interest in him, and it was with some trepidation when a Secret Service agent showed up at the front door to do a background check on both he and his family.
But that visit indicated the Mets were serious about their late interest just before the draft, so the New York Mets drafted him in the 1st round (13th) of the 2011 MLB June Amateur Draft from East HS (Cheyenne, WY).
For Nimmo, the road to the big leagues would consume five years across eight teams in the Mets farm system until the team called him up for a cup of coffee in 2015 after nearly 2,000 minor league games.
Arriving in New York City at 23, Brandon Nimmo was met with more than a touch of culture shock from growing up in Cheyenne, where a “night out” consisted of bowling and a stop at the local diner on the way home.
He earnestly wonderfully describes his first visit to Times Square: “People as far as you can see.” Those famous bright lights made it look “like it was daytime” in the evening.
But Nimmo was now wearing a major league uniform, although the road to get here was lodged in hope and dreams. And success, the task now was to stay in the big leagues.
Nimmo: Good Enough To Stay?
Nimmo was initially seen as a corner outfielder by the Mets. Still, the team had ongoing issues finding a centerfielder, and it was clear that Nimmo’s future rested on his ability to play at a major league level in centerfield.
It would take Brandon Nimmo two more seasons to break into the Mets’ lineup, and along the way, he would be put to the test. Finally, in 2018 he played 140 games, split between 32 appearances in left field, 62 in right field, and only 44 games in center field.
Nimmo batted .263 for the Mets, and the team was more than encouraged by his .404 on-base percentage, a stat that would later become his trademark in the big leagues. Seventeen home runs also gave insurance of things to come.
Fast forward to last season when Brandon Nimmo erased any doubt that he would be a mainstay in the Mets lineup, appearing in all but 11 games for the Mets, Nimmo punched out 159 hits, of which 53 went for extra bases.
Moreover, handling 308 chances as the Mets’ regular center fielder while finishing fifth in NL with 304 putouts, he did not make an error while contributing four assists, throwing a runner out on base.
For Nimmo, six years had passed, and he was now eligible as an unrestricted free agent entering the 2023 season.
Mets owner Steve Cohen could hear the clamoring among fans, who insisted Nimmo be signed to a contract extension that would guarantee his presence in a Mets uniform for the duration of his career.
Accordingly, Brandon Nimmo, now 30, signed an 8-year / $162,000,000 contract with the New York Mets, all of which is guaranteed, including a $2,000,000 signing bonus, thereby financially securing his wife, Chelsea, and their family in the future.
Brandon Nimmo’s Breakout Season
Quickly reaping the rewards, the Mets and their fans are enjoying the beginnings of a breakout season by Brandon Nimmo in 2023.
Soaring into the top five in National League hitting, Nimmo is batting .349, with a .456 on-base percentage. In only 22 games, he has scored 14 runs and driven home 13 on a Mets team often starving for runs.
Initially attracted to Mets fans by his boyish enthusiasm for baseball and his thirty years of dashes to first base following a base-on-balls, Brandon Nimmo still is a challenger to teammate Francisco Lindor for the most comprehensive and most prolific smiles seen day-to-day on the field.
Seeming to prefer to stay in the background, deferring to his more vocal teammates like Lindor and Pete Alonso, Nimmo has nevertheless gained the respect of the Mets team and management as a leader who leads by his play on the field.
In this video, Nimmo’s manager, Buck Showalter, explains: What Brandon Nimmo Means To The Team.
The talk about Nimmo’s ranking as the best centerfielder in the National League is accurate, as witnessed by this study in metsmerizedonline.com.
Nimmo outranks such notables as Jazz Chisholm Jr. (MIA), Victor Robles (WSH), Brandon Marsh (PHI), and Michael Harris II (ATL).
No one speaks of Brandon Nimmo’s ability to make the plays in center field anymore.
Nimmo explained his path to improvement in the field to the New York Daily News:
“You get used to those reads,” Nimmo said. “Then when they put you back in center, it’s like, alright, these are different reads. So really, you’re going to get the most out of someone by keeping them in a similar position most of the time. It’s hard to explain, but the ball flies slightly differently to each of those positions, and for it to become muscle memory, and up to you not to think about it when it’s hit. You need to see it over and over again.”
If the season ended today, there would be a vigorous debate about the NL MVP Award. Would it go to Ronald Acuna Jr. Nimmo or first baseman Pete Alonso?
Twenty-two games do not make a season, and as the axiom in baseball reminds us – it’s not where you start; it’s about where you finish.
Nevertheless, few, if any, will not agree all signs point upward regarding Brandon Nimmo’s upside and future with the Mets.