Brandon Nimmo Mets Legacy At Stake
One of the topics discussed with Jacob deGrom‘s free agency was his New York Mets legacy. If he were to stay, he was definitively going to surpass David Wright as the best player in team history to spend his entire career with the Mets. However, deGrom signed with the Texas Rangers leaving Wright’s legacy secured.
That is not to say Wright’s legacy is set in stone. There are other players who could potentially challenge Wright’s status with the franchise. One of those players could be Brandon Nimmo.
Nimmo has started to make some headway onto the Mets record books. He’s fourth all-time in OBP, 11th in SLG and triples, 21st in runs scored, and 29th in doubles. He’s in the top 30 in a number of other categories. He’s also fifth all-time in wRC+ and sixth in OPS+.
Put another way, Nimmo has been one of the more dynamic offensive weapons in Mets history. He is not seen as such, but one day he could be viewed as the best lead-off hitter in team history. At the moment, that title probably belongs to Jose Reyes partially due to his longevity, and also, partially because of the stolen bases and triples.
In terms of Wright and Reyes, Nimmo has proven to be the far superior defender. Yes, Wright has the two Gold Gloves, but for his career, he had a -24 DRS. We can ignore OAA because there is only data for his 2016 season when he should not have been in the field due to the spinal stenosis. For his part, Reyes had a -60 DRS at short.
Nimmo was great this year in center with a 6 OAA. Much of that is in thanks to the Mets rebuilt scouting and analytical departments who positioned Nimmo better in the outfield. At the moment, he is a very good defensive center fielder. Over the long term, we know he will age well as he has experience playing good defense in the corners.
All told, Nimmo looks like the type of player who can emerge as one of the true greats in franchise history. In fact, he could emerge as the best.
He’s knocking at the door in terms of advanced offensive metrics like wRC+ and OPS+. We also see his defense at a level where he has become very good. That all should translate to WAR. That did this past season with him having a 5.1 bWAR and 5.4 fWAR. Of course, that is where things get a little more dicey with him.
At the moment, Nimmo ranks 14th among position players in Mets history with a 17.2 bWAR. That leaves him trailing Wright’s 49.2 by 32.0. His 17.9 fWAR ranks 13th, and he trails Wright’s 51.2 by 33.3. That is a significant gap.
However, as we learned with Wright’s career, you need to both stay and be healthy. For his part, Wright did stay, but sadly, he was not healthy as his career came to a very premature end due to spinal stenosis. When it comes to Nimmo, for most of his career, he has been injury prone, but for the first time this year, he was relatively healthy.
If Nimmo can stay healthy and stay, there’s a chanced he catches Wright. Assuming he lands a five year deal, he would have to average a 6.4 bWAR and 6.7 fWAR to catch Wright. Considering Nimmo’s high is a 5.1, that is a steep ask, but then again, he is capable of doing it or coming close to it.
Keeping in mind there is a universal DH and an ability to move to one of the corners, there is a chance Nimmo could play longer into his career and remain productive. We did see it with a player like Curtis Granderson. Again, while we can dicker over the likeliness of it all, it still remains a possibility.
However, for all of that to even be a discussion, the first step has to happen. Nimmo has to stay and re-sign. Of course, that’s not all on Nimmo. Much of that is on the Mets. When it comes to that, Nimmo being the only real center fielder on the market means the Mets have no other choice than to step up and keep him.
We saw Jacob deGrom leave. That was unfortunate. The Mets cannot let Nimmo leave. They need to keep him and let him secure his own legacy as a member of the New York Mets.