Brandon Nimmo’s ‘hunger for getting better at everything’ a linchpin of Mets’ success

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Brandon Nimmo Mets
Brandon Nimmo (AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson)

Days off come few and far between for New York Mets center fielder Brandon Nimmo. In fact, Tuesday night’s middle game of the Mets’ three-game series against the Cincinnati Reds ended a streak of 59 consecutive games started by the 29-year-old lead-off man. 

The break provides a momentary hiatus to a solid nine-game streak in which he was slashing .371/.476/.457 (.933 OPS) with five runs scored, but Mets manager Buck Showalter knows that even his most dependable and consistent guys need to take a break. Especially amidst a stretch in which his team plays 27 games in 26 days.

And it still isn’t going to provide a ton of relief.

“You’re not going to get the full benefit,” Showalter said, who plans on getting Nimmo back in the lineup for Wednesday’s series finale. “It’s just part of the job description. The last time they were 100% is when they got out of the car at Port St. Lucie. The next time they’re 100% will probably be two or three weeks after the season is over, both emotionally and physically.”

Nimmo’s offensive numbers have taken a slight step back after a 147-game stretch from 2019-2020 in which he batted .288 with a .402 on-base percentage and an .856 OPS. He’s batting .271 with a .355 OBP and .779 OPS over 102 games this year. 

But the overwhelming positive is that he’s been able to stay healthy after averaging just 72 games over the last three seasons while becoming a dependable defensive center fielder. This season alone has seen the Wyoming native post a total zone total fielding runs above average of 3, which has nearly tied his career mark of 4 over his previous six MLB seasons.

His WAR of 3.3 this season is tied for third-best in the majors with Twins All-Star Byron Buxton and behind only Mariners rookie star Julio Rodriguez and the legendary Mike Trout. 

“As far as Brandon is concerned, he has taken his game to a different level and a lot of it has been durability, knock on wood,” Showalter said. “Everybody loved him and he’s only gotten better. He’s a growing player… He’s got such a hunger for getting better at everything. He’s so good. He’s the same guy every day. He’s gotten a lot more confident and vocal. He knows now what’s right and wrong. If he gets into a slump it’s very short.”

For more on the Mets and Brandon Nimmo, visit AMNY.com