Brandon Nimmo is crushing the baseball and leading the minors in OBP

Nimmo Stance ST '14After going 4-for-4 with a double, and a home run last night, Brandon Nimmo is hitting .407/.530/.549 in 24 games in the Florida State League.

As he told MiLB.com about his big night, Monday:

“I felt good up at the plate, just swinging and having fun and happened to get into a few balls. It’s just one of those nights you look back and think, thank God for that one. I’m kind of going through it all, and at the end of the night, I thought, ‘That was a pretty dang good night.’”

He has five doubles, a triple and two homers to go along with 24 walks against 20 strikeouts. The two home runs already equal his season output from 2013 in Savannah, and his five doubles are over 30 percent of his way to last year’s total of 16.

A winter working out at IMG is showing up on the field, in Nimmo’s view.

“I definitely feel better about the power this year. Last year, Savannah was a hard ballpark to hit for a lefty. Last year is what it is. I’m glad I’ve improved power-wise, I was thinking about that today, I was like, ‘Wow, I hit as many in one month as I did the whole season.’ So that’s been nice to see some result. I worked hard this offseason putting in time away from the family.”

In terms of advanced metrics, he’s striking out in 17.4 percent of his plate appearances, walking in 21 percent and has a .507 batting average on balls in play (BABIP). In 2013, he struck out over 27 percent of the time and walked 15 percent. Baseball Prospectus found that strikeout rates stabilize at 60 PA and walk rates at 120 PA, so with Nimmo at 115 PA so far, this improvement in his key indicators looks real.

Moreover, while his .507 BABIP will certainly regress, minor league BABIP is a different, if related, animal than the big league variant. In the minors a high BABIP for hitters (or pitchers) can be a reflection not just of luck but hard contact. Fangraphs found that BABIP was higher when hitters swung at strikes rather than balls. This makes sense at an intuitive level. An ultra-selective hitter like Nimmo, is choosing not just pitches that he can make contact with, but those that he can hit hard. This is the essence of the Mets’ hitting philosophy.

Nimmo is leading all of minor league baseball in on-base percentage, 24 points better than Rangel Ravelo (.506) of Birmingham. He’s also leading the the Florida State League in walks and runs scored, and is tied for first in batting average and hits. He’s fourth in slugging, third in total bases,

At a basic level, Nimmo has reached base in 22 of his 24 games.

Nimmo, who turned 21 in March, is well on his way towards earning a promotion to Double-A Binghamton at some point this season. The more he hits, the more he accelerates his time table. However, the Mets have become deliberate  about promoting position players with the first major wave coming in June the last few years under Sandy Alderson and Paul dePodesta. Expect at least a few more weeks in the FSL for Nimmo.

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