After ending his 2019 season strong, Brandon Nimmo is optimistic about the Mets as the calendar flips to the new year.
Nimmo, who turns 27 on March 27, returned Sept. 1 from his lengthy neck-injury rehab throughout the summer in time for the Mets' second-half surge into the playoff conversation.
He slashed .261/.430/.565 with five home runs and 15 RBI in 26 games down the stretch, and although the Mets were ultimately left out of the postseason, Nimmo drew inspiration from an NL East rival's successful run.
"Look at where the Nationals ended up, just by getting in," Nimmo said of Washington, which on Oct. 30 won their first-ever World Series when they beat the Houston Astros in seven games -- after surviving and advancing from Oct. 1's 4-3 NL Wild Card win over the Milwaukee Brewers.
"That's all you have to do is just get in, and they found a formula that worked, and I felt like we had really good success against the Nationals when we were healthy. So I think it just proves that this team has ... a chance at the World Series next year. So if we stay healthy, there's no reason why we shouldn't be in those talks."
For the Mets to duplicate what the Nationals did, they need Nimmo -- among other players -- to step their game up.
Projected as the Mets' everyday center fielder into 2020, Nimmo is keeping his focus on the one position after logging 43 games there in 2019.
Nimmo's participation split for 2019 included 38 games in left field and six games in right field.
"As far as I'm concerned, I'm just working on controlling center field until they tell me otherwise," Nimmo said Wednesday at Citi Field during the Mets' kids holiday party. "So speed and power and just working on trying to get the body ready and keep the neck going and everything's been good so far and just, as I've been told before and I've told you guys, it seems the farther we got the injury, the better. Everything's been going really well this offseason, positive stuff."
Following his first full season with the Mets in 2018, where he slashed .263/.404/.483 with 17 home runs and 47 RBI in 140 games, Nimmo started slow and had any chance of getting back on track derailed by injury.
Nimmo slashed .200/.344/.323 with three home runs and 14 RBI in his first 43 games of the 2019 season, from March 28 through May 20, playing while injured on an outfield-wall crash April 15 against the Atlanta Braves.
He made his return more than two months later, but Nimmo keeps building back up to prevent any flare-ups going forward, looking for a strong -- and sustainable -- start in 2020.
"Yeah, it's just like 10, 15 minutes a day," Nimmo said of the neck injury's rehab. "It's probably something that I'll do throughout my career. Once I get into a routine, it's pretty -- I kind of go after that every day and do that, so that'll be something that I do all the time throughout the rest of my career. But yeah, 15 minutes every day to try and prevent something like that in the future."