The New York Mets went through their fair share of upheaval in the outfield this season. They began the season with a starting outfield trio of Yoenis Cespedes, Curtis Granderson, and Jay Bruce. Fast forward to September, and the outfield looks completely different. The Mets placed Cespedes on the disabled list, and traded Granderson and Bruce over the summer. Over the course of 2017, everyone from Juan Lagares and Michael Conforto, to Travis Taijeron and Nori Aoki, even Jose Reyes, has spent time in the outfield. One young outfielder is making the most of his chance to stand out: Brandon Nimmo.
The 24-year-old is enjoying somewhat of a late-season surge as the Mets look to finish a lackluster 2017 on a high note. Since his promotion from Triple-A Las Vegas in mid-June, Nimmo owns a .284 batting average with three home runs and 14 runs batted in in 49 games. Yet, two of those home runs and eight of those runs batted in came in the month of September. His hot hitting resulted in Terry Collins putting him in the cleanup spot for Saturday night’s matchup against the Cincinnati Reds.
“I’m still young and I’m still learning how to use all the tools,” Nimmo said after hitting two home runs in Thursday’s 7-2 win over the Reds. “I definitely think that I do have power, but I’m OK with walks, OK with base hits. I’m just trying to be the best player I can be.”
Nimmo certainly does not turn heads with the long ball. Coming into Thursday’s game, Nimmo hit just two career home runs. It certainly behooves the former first-round pick to hone his all-around game in the wake of his recent hot streak. One of the ways he has done so is through his defense. Nimmo plays the outfield aggressively and has made a few spectacular catches this season.
“I always look at both sides of the baseball,” Collins said of Nimmo’s play. “Especially in this league, where defense can win you some games, and I think this kid has really gotten better defensively.”
Nimmo remains grateful for the opportunity the Mets have afforded him, especially since Cespedes (the player he replaced in left field) is such an impactful player for the club. Surely, Nimmo may not fill Cespedes’ shoes, even if he did bat cleanup on Saturday. At the same time, he is showing he belongs in the majors.
“I am trying to be very grateful about this time and enjoy the heck out of it,” he said last week. “Because not everybody gets to be an everyday major league player.”
Jesse Andreozzi is a staff writer for Outside Pitch Sports Network covering the New York Mets. Follow him on Twitter @Jesse_Andreozzi