Brandon Nimmo Is Mets Best Hitter
As we look at the 2021 Mets, offensively speaking this team is an embarrassment of riches. This team is full of players who can be great hitting lead-off and can make the argument they should be hitting in the middle of the lineup. As you parse through it all, the debate begins over who exactly is the best hitter on this team.
It may come to surprise you the answer is actually Brandon Nimmo.
No, that is not going to be a popular answer, especially among a fanbase who has a contingent who bizarrely believes Nimmo is a fourth outfielder. To that point, if we look since 2017, here are the Mets top hitters according to wRC+:
- Jeff McNeil 139
- Brandon Nimmo 136
- Pete Alonso 136
- Michael Conforto 132
- Francisco Lindor 119
- Dominic Smith 116
- J.D. Davis 115
- Luis Guillorme 93
- James McCann 91
Now, looking at that list, McNeil is ahead of Nimmo, and Nimmo is in a dead heat with Alonso. Really, taking the top four into account the 132 – 139 range isn’t really much of a separation to adjudge who is best among that group. However, there is more to the story when you are looking at Nimmo.
Nimmo’s biggest issue in terms of these rankings is he mostly missed out on the super juiced ball of 2019. While everyone was putting up video game numbers, Nimmo first dealt with a sore hand after a HBP early in the season. Soon thereafter, he was found to have a bulging disc which cost him the vast majority of that season.
While injuries of that nature are certainly concerning, Nimmo has done nothing but shown he has overcame that injury. Nimmo was reactivated when rosters were expanded in September. From September 1 through the 2020 season, Nimmo hit .275/.412/.506, and he posted a 151 wRC+. That wasn’t exactly a fluke.
In Nimmo’s breakout 2018 season, Nimmo had a 148 wRC+. It’s of interest to note, Nimmo had the same mark in 2020. That’s elite offensive production, and in his last two healthy seasons, he’s posted that same number. Keep in mind, that’s better than any other player on the Mets has posted over the course of a full 162 game season.
Yes, last season, we did see some Mets players post a better wRC+. Specifically, Smith had a 164, and Conforto had a 157. In terms of both, we have seen enough in their careers to indicate they are capable of producing incredible offensive seasons like that. We know the same for McNeil and Alonso. We haven’t seen it in New York, but we know Lindor is a very good offensive player albeit it one a step behind the rest.
Still, no one on the Mets roster has produced the numbers Nimmo has when Nimmo has been healthy. When healthy, Nimmo has produced at a level commensurate with players like Juan Soto (152), Christian Yelich (147), and Freddie Freeman (146). Since 2017, that’s the level of offensive player Nimmo has been.
Certainly, people refuse to believe it and want to write it off because Nimmo walks too much as if that is a bad thing. They also dismiss his approach citing he’s taking hittable pitches while ignoring his .456 SLG and .850 OPS. Nimmo is a player who makes a pitcher work, he gets on base, and he hits for power. That should be seen as the ideal profile for a hitter.
Also, keep in mind, it’s not just about batting average or homers. It’s about the ability to get on base. Few in all of baseball are better than Nimmo in that department and certainly no one on the Mets.
Overall, when Nimmo is healthy, he is the best offensive player in this lineup. Sure, he could very well be surpassed by players like Alonso or Conforto. That is very well possible given the caliber of player they are. However, keep in mind even with all the great things they do, they still haven’t done what Nimmo when healthy over the course of a 162 game season.