Brooklyn, gunning for their eleventh win of the season tonight do so with their number eight hitter batting only .195. That number eight hitter isn't just any old prospect, he's Brandon Nimmo. I've received several emails and questions on Twitter regarding the 19-year old's slow start to the season, as well having had many conversations with others who have seen him play. Here are a few thoughts on Nimmo.
I know for a fact that no one in the Mets organization or on the Cyclones staff is concerned one bit about Nimmo and the fact that he's done nothing in the Cyclones first fifteen games. I'm a conservative evaluator, but still wouldn't have any reason to be concerned about Nimmo. Prospects take time and most certainly aren't expected to hit in short-season ball similarly to what their upside projects them to be. Additionally, struggling is a positive sign, as Nimmo is seeing what he's doing wrong and learning through his manager and hitting coach how to fix it.
That said, until today I was totally unaware of his low average. That's because it's not something that I pay attention to in the minors. I hate minor league stats and hardly use them. In fact, the only stats that I really use when evaluating minor league talent are strikeouts and walks. I do so solely because statistics don't project a player two or three years from now and they most certainly tell me anything about his projection, which are two of the most prominent points of scouting.
Nimmo has actually looked pretty good at the plate. He's been swinging-and-missing a bunch but is still showing pretty decent plate discipline along with good speed up the line. When he makes contact it's been fairly solid and he's looked good tracking down balls in the outfield. He looks good in a baseball uniform and his athleticism is so much fun to dream on. He projects to be a solid, every day outfielder and to be that there are bound to be struggles along the way.
Nimmo's plate coverage needs some refining, but he's definitely able to catch up to a fastball. He has faced at least two opposing pitchers this season who threw 93+ and caught up to both of their fastballs. Looking at him and his upside reminds me a little bit of Hunter Pence. He's much less wirey but has body that looks somewhat similar to Pence and projects to possibly be a 18-25 home run type of guy, also similar to Pence. I'm not a big comparison guy, though, as they are almost always used recklessly and without purpose.
I expect Nimmo to take plenty of time as he really is a project. The Mets aren't in any rush to get Nimmo to the big leagues, so they'll surely take as much time and commitment needed to ensure that Nimmo was indeed worth the expensive investment.