The 21-year-old started the campaign in advanced Single-A St. Lucie, where he garnered a Florida State League All-Star selection after batting .322, with an impressive .448 on-base percentage and .458 slugging percentage, in 62 games. He received a well-deserved promotion to Double-A Binghamton for the second half, where he struggled to adjust to more talented and experienced pitching but began to get comfortable just in time to bat over .300 in the B-Mets postseason championship run.
He maintained the patient approach and pitch selectivity that has become one of his trademarks since joining the system straight from high school in Wyoming. The potential he's shown and rapid growth in his game are so great that the Mets selected him to participate in the Arizona Fall League this year. It's a learning experience that Nimmo has found invaluable. What is he working on to take the ultimate jump to the major leagues? Who does he turn to when he needs help with his swing? Would he be upset if the Mets added an outfielder on a long-term contract to their roster this offseason, blocking his path? He answers those questions and more in this week's Mets Minors Q&A...
Brender: How has the Arizona Fall League experience been so far?
Nimmo: It’s been good. Really good talent out here and Scottsdale is a really nice place to live. The weather is really good. It hasn’t rained one day since we’ve been out here. It’s usually 90 degrees during the day but pretty dry. So everything, condition-wise, is really nice and the playing surfaces are great. It’s awesome playing at big league training facilities and they treat us really well down here. The other part is, I feel like the talent down here is very similar to major league talent, so it makes it very hard and competitive. The games last a while because the pitchers are on short leashes here, so lots of pitching changes. It’s a fun league to be in and an honor to be a part of.
Brender: Do you feel exhausted at this point? You played a full season and now the AFL. How’s your energy level?
Nimmo: Actually, I feel pretty good. My body has held up really well over the course of this season. Like you said, I think I played in 127 games during the regular season, eight more in the postseason and then however many I’ve played out here. So, we’re right in that 150-160 [games played] range. For me, it’s awesome, because I know I can survive a major league season. These extra six weeks get me to the point where I’ve played the length of a major league season, and I really didn’t get that much time off between the playoffs (with the B-Mets) and coming out here. I got about five days at home, went back to Florida for Instructional Camp and then came out to Arizona. So, I really haven’t had that much time off, the body seems good and I’m holding up well.
As I said, I’m really excited to be out here. The one nice part is the schedule here isn’t at all like a major league schedule. The travel is very easy. The farthest we travel is 45 minutes. So, you’re able to do your routine, get your stuff done at the field every day and it’s a lot easier than traveling from coast to coast. We also don’t play here every day, which helps out with your body feeling good, because you’re so used to playing every day during the season this is a whole lot easier.
Brender: Did you look at the AFL as a way to showcase yourself?
Nimmo: I think everybody comes into it looking at it that way. I don’t know if I really look at it as showcasing myself or as the opportunity to face big league talent and get better by facing it every day. Each at-bat is going to be against a top guy and that makes it competitive and challenging. I feel like I’m a guy who picks up on things quickly and so learning on the fly with these at-bats and the competition we’re playing against, I like it a lot. I think it’s really essential and really going to help me a lot in my path to trying to make it to the major leagues.
Brender: You got off to a slow start after you were promoted to Double-A, but you began to pick it up toward the end of the season and in the playoffs. Do you feel like you accomplished what you wanted to there?
Nimmo: I feel like I kind of figured it out there at the end. I feel like I finished a whole lot better than I started, like you said. It took me about three or four weeks to get that adjustment down. The pitchers are obviously just a little more consistent. That’s the name of the game, as you move up to every level, is everybody is just a little more consistent. The talent level isn’t a whole lot different. I would say some of the biggest differences between Double-A and High-A were pretty much every reliever at Double-A either threw over 95 or they threw from god knows what angle. They would jump to the sides and try to deceive you in whatever way possible. I think that was probably the biggest difference reliever-wise.
Starting pitcher-wise, they would try to throw you more off-speed pitches in fastball counts, they use get-me-over curveballs a little bit better. They throw off-speed pitches with a bit more command and obviously the fastball with more command. They make less mistakes over the middle part of the plate, so you have to be more consistent capitalizing on those mistakes. That’s probably something I did a whole lot better later on in the season and in the playoffs and it’s something I continue to work on daily.
Brender: Would you be disappointed if you sent back to Binghamton to start the 2015 season?
Nimmo: No, not at all. There’s always something to work on. The Mets [front office personnel] know better than me. They’ve obviously been doing this a whole lot longer than me, so they know whether I’m ready for the next level or not and I’ll respect their decision either way. I still have a lot to learn. It doesn’t mean that I can’t move up levels and learn as I go. I feel like I’m the type of personality who can do that. Obviously, my goal is to get to the major leagues, so however I can get to the major leagues, whatever steps I need to take to get to the major leagues, those are steps that I’m going to take, I want to take. I want to get better. I think I have a pretty good fire lit under me to make it to the major leagues. It’s something that I’ve wanted to accomplish since being a little kid. It’s been a dream and so it pushes me that much harder.
Brender: Are you at the point where you feel like you can taste the major league promotion?
Nimmo: I’m sitting right on the edge. There are things that can happen very quickly, like you saw just before September with Dilson Herrera going straight from Double-A to the big leagues. So, things happen very quickly and you are sitting right on the edge of it, it’s right there and you know it’s right in your grasp. You can almost touch it. My goal is to grab it and hold onto it. So, yes, it does make it very real at this point and something that makes you want it even more.
Brender: I know you pay attention to what the Mets do regarding player acquisitions. If they signed an outfielder to a long-term deal this offseason would you be upset? How do you avoid letting that affect you?
Nimmo: It’s one of those things that you can’t control. That’s the way that you help it not affect you. As long as you’re giving it all you have, working as hard as you can and can look yourself in the mirror after each night and say ‘I gave it everything I have, I have no regrets about anything that I’ve done up to this point,’ then you’re fine. If they go out and they get a longer-term guy, that’s fine. Whatever is best for the team, that’s what I’m all about right now. I have time on my side and I’m fine with that.
Obviously, I want to get there sooner than later but I mainly want to earn the spot. I want to go play in the major leagues but I don’t want to just get up there and not do well and come right back down. I want to get up there and I want to stay there for a long time. That’s the ultimate goal. I feel like if I get to the point that I know I can get to then I’ll find a spot somewhere.
One thing I do know is, the pitching staff they have up there and the pitchers they have coming are phenomenal and I’m very excited to be a part of this organization right now. I have a feeling that they are right on the edge of being a very good team. They have the pitching staff to do it right now. So, whatever solution there is for the Mets to be good right now, that’s what I’m all about.
Brender: Were you surprised when Dilson Herrera was promoted from Double-A to the big leagues last season?
Nimmo: No, not at all. Honestly, I felt like that guy deserved it more than anybody else. That guy is a class act. He puts in the work. Obviously, he’s an amazing player. He was hitting like .345, with 10 home runs in half a season in Double-A and he was 20-year-old. We would expect like two to three hits from him a night and one of those would be a double or a home run, and it’s hard to expect that because this game is so hard. He plays with such passion. I felt amazing for him. Was I a little bit shocked when it first happened? Yeah. We were on our way to the playoffs and trying to win a championship and, all of a sudden, they come get him off the bus and say you’re going to the big leagues. He deserved it. He deserved to go to the big leagues. I love that guy. I love him as a teammate and I wish the best for him.
Brender: Do you think having the experience of playing in the postseason in Double-A will help you as you progress in your career?
Nimmo: Oh, of course. You have to learn how to win, too. There are certain guys who can just come through in the clutch and certain guys who take it to a whole new level when the game is on the line. Being in those situations more often helps you become one of those guys. Now, can you replicate a World Series, with 50,000 or 60,000 yelling, screaming, game on the line, Game 7, bottom of the 9th, two outs, runner on second base and you’re up to bat? No, you can’t replicate that. But, you can try to come close. It’s all about the pressure that you put on yourself.
When you want to win like we do, and we’re competitive people who want to win, you put all the pressure in those situations on yourself. You have to learn how to deal with that, put it to the side, and let your body and your reactions take over. Knowing that you’ve been there before and how this works helps you in the future. I’m sure that winning in the minor leagues has to help with winning in the big leagues.
Brender: Is there one person you feel most comfortable talking to about how you’re playing?
Nimmo: Probably my dad, honestly. My dad is the guy I talk too pretty much every night and we go over the games and what happened. My dad expects a lot from me. Not results, but the effort I put in, the approach I take toward the game. I try to be really honest with him about how things are going. He tries to help with my swing. He wishes he could be there more often to help out with my swing. He’s seen it since I was two years old, since I started swinging a bat. He’s seen the progression of it. He knows all the keys that I go back to, the basics I go back to. I definitely go to him for advice on the swing and we try to solve those problems as they come up.