Why Ranked Here: The Mets spent $2.1 million to induce Brandon Nimmo to forgo his commitment to Arkansas and begin his professional career as the 13th overall pick in the most recent draft. He made some history too, as the first Wyoming player selected in the first round of the draft.
At the moment, speed is his most impressive tool. When I saw him in the GCL, he went first to home in what felt like two seconds with long, swift strides. He’s a lanky 6’3” at the moment. He moves a little bit like a young deer, all arms and legs, but manages to get where he’s going quickly. In fact, one talent evaluator for an AL team described Nimmo as a “left-handed hitting Hunter Pence” another guy who is semi-famous for his slightly gawky actions. There’s no question he’ll fill out and get stronger as he matures.
At the plate, he hits out of a wide base with almost no stride, instead preferring just to pick his front foot up and place it down in the same place as his timing trigger. It’s a sweet, simple swing. His hands are quick and he showed a nice feel for making contact. By the standards of young hitters, he’s reasonably patient, and even drew six walks in his first 10 games. His first few AB of his professional career against left-handed pitching were tough, but again, they were just a handful of at-bats.
In addition to his physical gifts, Nimmo comes off as enthusiastic and almost unbelievably coachable. In his first week in St. Lucie, at the suggestion of Mets’ outfield instructors, he made a nice alteration to the mechanics of charging a ball in the outfield. It was a small detail, but spoke loudly about his willingness to adapt and try to improve.
The Mets see Nimmo as a centerfielder who will hit in the middle of the order. That’s a star. Failing that, he could become a speed player or even Hunter Pence.
One other thing working in Nimmo’s favor: he was among the youngest hitters in the 2011 high school draft class, a group that historically has had more success than their older counterparts.
2011: Play American Legion ball. Sign. Play a week in the GCL. Play half a week in the Appy League. Do it with a smile. It’s good to be 18 and a millionaire.
Dr. Pangloss Says: Star
Debbie Downer Says: We can talk pretty, but there’s no guarantee he’s a big leaguer.
Projected 2012 Start: Savannah
MLB Arrival: 2015
Nimmo in the GCL in 2011