Brandon Nimmo has provided the New York Mets with a spark at the top of their order they’ve been missing in recent years. The young outfielder has added some newfound power to his arsenal in the process, too.
After a frustrating road trip, the New York Mets got the opportunity to start fresh at Citi Field against the Chicago Cubs. After four stellar innings from Seth Lugo, things continued to go downhill as Mickey Callaway‘s club keeps dancing around .500.
One consistent bright spot throughout this rough stretch, though, has been outfielder Brandon Nimmo. After going 10-for-30 during New York’s recent road trip to Milwaukee and Atlanta (which included seven extra-base hits), he was at it again Thursday night.
The Mets’ leadoff hitter collected two more hits in the opener of a four-game series, and both of them were of the extra-base hit variety. New York had been kept off the board until Nimmo did this in the bottom of the eighth inning, via SNY:
— SportsNet New York (@SNYtv) June 1, 2018
This was Nimmo’s sixth homer of the young season, which is significant when looking at the rest of his abbreviated big-league career. Entering 2018, he had six dingers in 295 plate appearances. It’s only taken him 144 trips to the plate over the last two months to double that total.
His plate discipline has continued to be on display based on his current 14.5 percent walk rate. However, he’s gotten a lot more aggressive on pitches inside the strike zone, and it’s paying huge dividends. Nimmo’s chase rate has stayed low (21.4 percent), but his swing rate on strikes has increased to 67.1 percent (it was 59.3 percent last year).
Swinging at pitches inside the strike zone is great, but it’s even better when hitters actually do more damage with them. Nimmo’s ground-ball rate has dropped by more than 10 percentage points in favor of his fly-ball rate, which is currently 47.6 percent.
In fact, Nimmo is on track to improve that number for the third consecutive year (28.3 percent in 2016 and 32.8 percent in 2017). His hard-hit rate has also been on a similar trajectory. That number is currently sitting at a hefty 40.7 percent mark.
What does this all mean? Some hitters can get on a hot streak and slug a bunch of homers without the supporting numbers to back it up. Nimmo is not lucking his way into this power binge he’s on at the moment.
There’s a clear change in approach going on right now. It took a while for him to get an opportunity to play consistently, but he’s taking full advantage of it.