Brandon Nimmo admitted that he was spoiled during his initial introduction to life in the major leagues.
Just a year after the team won the National League pennant in 2015, the Wyoming native made his MLB debut as a part-time outfield — playing 80 games for a team that made the Wild Card Game that they ultimately lost to the San Francisco Giants.
Regardless, it was just the second time in franchise history that the Mets played postseason baseball in consecutive years; and the idea of it being a common occurrence was at the forefront of Nimmo’s mind.
Not so much.
It’s been six years since the Mets have made the playoffs and Nimmo has transformed into one of the top center fielders in the National League. And finally, that drought is over with the organization having clinched a spot in October after a victory on Monday night in Milwaukee against the Brewers.
“I’m 0bviously in a much different role being an everyday guy,” Nimmo told SNY after the Mets’ postseason berth clincher on Monday night in Milwaukee. “A lot of blood sweat and tears poured into this. Many years of hard work to try and get to this point.”
This is Nimmo’s 11th year in the Mets organization after being selected 13th overall at the 2011 MLB Draft.
From a corner-outfield prospect who never played high school baseball, he’s developed into the lead-off hitter of the National League’s second-best team. An on-base percentage of .386 since the start of the 2018 season ranks ninth best in all of baseball and he’s driven in a career-high 65 RBI.
His defense has also taken immense steps forward in recent years as his outs above average, measured by Statcast, is tied for sixth-best among all center fielders in baseball.
“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,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said last month. “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.”
That confidence will be invaluable to keep the Mets’ focus on the task at hand. While their playoff spot is clinched, the National League East crown is still very much up for grabs with a one-game lead over the Atlanta Braves. But that didn’t mean they couldn’t take a well-deserved pause on Monday night to celebrate the franchise’s 10th-ever trip to the postseason.
“It means a lot to do it with the team that I was drafted by,” Nimmo said. “2011, that’s a long time that I’ve been with this organization. There was a lot of hard work in it and we’re excited to celebrate it and enjoy this.”
For more on Brandon Nimmo and the Mets, visit AMNY.com