You can add marriage counselor to Mets manager Buck Showalter’s long list of accolades as he’s been forced to keep a keen eye on his center fielder, Brandon Nimmo.
It’s not that the 29-year-old is doing anything suspicious to even conjure the slightest inkling of infidelity — it’s just that he works too much to the point that maybe Citi Field security should leave a key with him.
“I’ve left here a few nights and he’s still here,” Showalter said Wednesday before the Mets took on the Milwaukee Brewers. “And I ask him, ‘Is your wife here?’
“‘No, she’s not.’
“And I say ‘Good. If you want to stay married you need to get your butt out of here.”
That’s just the kind of work ethic that Nimmo brings to the Mets’ table that has allowed him to develop into one of the better center fielders in the National League. And that doesn’t just include his ability to bat at either end of the lineup with a career .390 on-base percentage that ranks seventh in Major League Baseball since his debut in 2016.
Nimmo has continued to make remarkable strides in his defense out in center, which was never more evident than in the third inning of New York’s 4-0 win over Milwaukee when he made a spectacular diving catch to rob Hunter Renfroe of extra bases.
“He’s engaged every day,” Showalter said. “One of our coaches who had been around him for a while talked about how he improved each year… He’s improved every day, well not necessarily. He’s trying to.”
It certainly appears that way, though. He’s tied for fourth among MLB center fielders with four outs above average, which is a range-based metric of skill that shows how many outs a player has saved. this season.
“He’s fun to be around. It’s hard to bring what he brings every day just from an effort standpoint and engagement,” Showalter continued. “His personality never wavers.”
Not bad for a ballplayer who went to a high school in Wyoming that didn’t have a baseball team and didn’t attend college.
“He hasn’t followed the normal path. He didn’t go to an SEC school… didn’t play 30-40 games a year in high school,” Showalter said. “In a lot of ways, it’s kind of refreshing. He’s very open to things… You honestly have to be careful what you say around him because he’ll put it into play.”