Mets outfielder Brandon Nimmo hit a solo home run Sunday against two-time Cy Young winner Max Scherzer. The ball landed in the second deck at Citi Field.
Nimmo, who was not known for his power in the minor leagues, told reporters Sunday that he's not surprised to see himself hitting home runs in the big leagues.
"I can definitely hit home runs," said Nimmo, who has been working with the coaching staff to simplify his swing. "I think when I find the barrel more often, you're going to see that happen more."
Nimmo has started 27 of the last 28 games, during which he's batting .260 with a .387 OBP, five home runs, four doubles, 16 RBI, 16 runs scored and 19 walks.
"I take a lot of pride in my whole game," Nimmo said last week. "I feel like I command the zone pretty well … and I am proud of that."
Matthew Cerrone: Nimmo's stats extrapolate to roughly 50 extra base hits and 3.2 Wins Above Replacement (WAR) for a full season, according to FanGraphs.com, which would rank him among the top five or six center fielders in the National League.
To give that number additional context, free-agent-to-be Lorenzo Cain will end up with roughly 4.0 WAR this season playing center field for the Royals. He had just 2.5 WAR last year. Similarly, J.D Martinez, who is also a free agent, has 3.7 WAR this season coming off 1.8 WAR in 2016. WAR is not the end-all, be-all stat, but it does provide a bit of evidence when trying to understand how impressive Nimmo's performance has been last few weeks.
The point is, he's swaying me... and not just because he smiles like a kid with candy when rounding the bases on a home run. That's awesome, but I never thought he was capable of getting enough extra base hits to warrant being an every- day player. Right now he is, though...
Sept. 18, 2017: Nimmo bats at Citi Field. Credit: Marlin-USA Today
It's important to note September stats can be misleading because opposing rosters are often jam packed with pitchers that should be in Triple-A. So, how a guy hits in September should never be viewed as what he will do in April or June the following season. That said, I never even thought the talent for power was in him, so -- to see it all, regardless of who it is against -- for me -- is noteworthy and something to consider when plotting out the composition of next year's roster.
At the very least, based on what he's doing here, Nimmo will be a fourth outfielder for the Mets or traded to a team that will use him every day. For Sandy Alderson, he must decide if Nimmo is worth trusting in center fielder (over Juan Lagares), in the even he wants to use that money to fill a hole at a different position. Because, if Nimmo (or Lagares) is not the answer, Alderson will have to acquire a legit, everyday center or right fielder before the start of next season... in addition to needing two infielders, multiple relievers and a workhorse starting pitcher.