Mets outfielder Brandon Nimmo went 1-for-3 with a home run and two runs scored out of the leadoff spot in Monday's 4-2 Grapefruit League win over the Detroit Tigers, and manager Mickey Callaway believes Nimmo could succeed out of that role.
"We're looking for certain qualities in hitters in certain spots," Callaway told reporters on Monday. "He definitely fits a mold of what you'd be looking for in that leadoff spot."
Nimmo had a .276/.412/.429 batting line in eight games as the leadoff hitter. He believes his approach makes him a good option to bat first in the lineup.
"I definitely am comfortable in the leadoff spot. It's a place that yeah, I think suits my approach," Nimmo said. "They're testing it out right now. It's been going well so far. I think that they're just looking for someone who is going to try to find good pitches to hit and set a tone for the game, and I hope to be that person. I'm just going to try to keep my same approach."
Mets leadoff batters hit .267 (12th in the majors) with 34 home runs (fourth), 89 RBIs (fifth) and 126 runs scored (third) last season, however Nimmo's definitive role on the Mets' roster is still unclear.
Nimmo, a lefty, is still competing for the center field role, but will likely be platooned with the right-handed hitting Juan Lagares. The Mets' outfield is already crowded with Yoenis Cespedes and Jay Bruce manning the corner outfield spots, and when Michael Conforto returns from shoulder surgery, it could mean Nimmo receives less playing time.
However, Nimmo said he is focused on proving himself this spring.
"[The Mets' coaching staff] made it pretty clear that it's an open competition," Nimmo said. "Nobody has a spot here, especially with the new staff. They're getting first eyes on us. That's definitely how I came into spring, that I'm competing for a position. It's healthy competition, but it is competing. I don't think that I have a guaranteed spot at all, so my results do matter to me."