The Mets are in the final leg of their 10-game West Coast road trip, with their last stop being in San Francisco to face the Giants this weekend. Outside of the Max Scherzer sticky stuff ordeal, things have been going great, and center fielder Brandon Nimmo has been right in the middle of the action.
New York is 5-1 on its current road trip after sweeping the Athletics and taking two of three from the Dodgers. It’s hard to envision things going this well without Nimmo catching fire at the plate and supplying Gold Glove defense in center field.
It really happened during the final game of the Mets’ most recent homestand on April 12th. Before that game against the San Diego Padres, Nimmo was hitting .188/.413/.219. He still had a 105 wRC+ thanks to a 26.1% walk rate, but his performance included just one extra-base hit (a double) and one multi-hit game.
But over Nimmo’s last seven games, he’s slashed .516/.571/.742 with five extra-base hits (four doubles, one home run) and five multi-hit games. The one that stands out is the finale at Dodger Stadium. With New York down 1-0 and still trying to settle in after Scherzer’s ejection, Nims slugged a go-ahead two-run homer against old friend Noah Syndergaard.
It was part of a five-hit day:
🖐-hit day for @You_Found_Nimmo!@Delta | #LGM pic.twitter.com/JSmAuS9Ajg
— New York Mets (@Mets) April 20, 2023
He’s also flashed plenty of leather in the outfield grass, highlighted by a pair of diving catches he made during one game in Oakland:
Things you absolutely love to see: Brandon Nimmo showing off all kinds of range in the outfield. #Mets #LGM (via @SNYtv) pic.twitter.com/vTbrMjy2kR
— Matt Musico (@mmusico8) April 17, 2023
We don’t know how well the eight-year, $162 million deal that Nimmo signed over the winter will look by the time it’s over. However, it’s clear how important he is to the Mets right now — both in the field and at the top of the batting order.
Entering Thursday’s action, 71 outfielders currently qualify for the batting title. Only five have already accumulated at least 1.0 fWAR. Within that group, only two have at least 1.3 fWAR. Nimmo is one of them, and he’s joined by Ronald Acuña Jr. They’re tied at the top of the fWAR leaderboard with 1.3 each.
For years, you couldn’t go many places on Mets Twitter without seeing someone talk about how Nimmo is overrated. The “he’s a fourth outfielder” business was spewed constantly on the ol’ Bird app. Some version of those thoughts came back this past winter, saying he’s not worth the huge payday he received.
While it’s still early in the year, this is proof that he’s worth every penny. Pete Alonso and Francisco Lindor are the centerpieces of the offense. Nimmo is part of the ignition that gets things started, though. Whenever I think about his big-league progression, the below joke from Sandy Alderson comes to mind:
Sandy Alderson, tongue in cheek, on why the Mets did not pursue Giancarlo Stanton: "With Brandon Nimmo in right field, we just didn't feel that we had a need there."
— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) December 10, 2017
The Yankees‘ trade for Giancarlo Stanton became public knowledge on December 9th, 2017. When Sandy made this joke, Nimmo had appeared in 101 career games and had posted 1.4 total fWAR.
Of course, he then enjoyed a 2018 breakout that resulted in 4.8 fWAR across 140 games played. Nimmo didn’t play in 100-plus games again until 2022. However, his value to the Mets has been undeniable when he’s on the field.
It’s not a competition (and the Mets sure could use his power these days). But, it’s interesting to compare their fWAR production since 2018. Nimmo has racked up 17.8 fWAR, while Stanton comes in at 9.0.
Alderson’s comment was meant to be a joke, but it has unknowingly aged like a fine wine.
You can reach Matt Musico at [email protected]. You can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.