For a ballplayer that a lot of New York Mets fans labeled as a fourth outfielder, Brandon Nimmo sure isn’t playing like one. That’s probably because he isn’t.
The Mets’ lead-off man and every-day center fielder is red-hot to start the 2021 season, continuing to live up to his reputation as a high on-base guy while performing as his team’s most valuable bat so far in this young campaign.
The 28-year-old led Major League Baseball with a .581 on-base percentage following Tuesday night’s action, which saw him go 3-for-6 with two walks and three RBI during the Mets’ doubleheader sweep of the Philadelphia Phillies.
While the Mets have dealt with struggles generating offense — particularly coming up with hits with runners in scoring position — Nimmo has been his club’s most valuable bat even with the likes of Lindor, Pete Alonso, Michael Conforto, and Jeff McNeil inhabiting its ranks.
“I’ve been really fortunate to have Francisco [Lindor] behind me [in the No. 2 spot in the lineup] and I think that’s allowed me to get some good pitches to hit,” Nimmo said. “We have a really solid lineup so I think I can fall to the back of people’s minds on that. I’ve been able to take advantage of their mistakes.”
Heading into Wednesday night’s action, Nimmo was batting .435 with a 1.146 OPS, reaching safely in 18 of his first 31 plate appearances.
“I just try not to waste any at-bats,” the composed lefty said. “There’s going to be at-bats over the course of the season that I won’t be happy with, I don’t come through. My goal is to come up every single at-bat and not give one away mentally.
“I’m just trying to do my job and pass the baton. It’s just part of how I’m programmed.”
This is nothing new for Nimmo, though. Since the start of the 2018 season, he ranks sixth amongst qualified batters in all of Major League Baseball with a .401 on-base percentage.
The men in front of him? Mike Trout, Juan Soto, Mookie Betts, Christian Yelich, and Alex Bregman.
All are All-Stars, considered the very best of the best in baseball, obviously providing good company to keep — but not much of Nimmo’s concern.
“I’ll let the numbers take care of themselves,” he said with a chuckle. “I just want to be held accountable by my teammates to go up every single time, be a grinder, and not give at-bats away.
“Things are going well right now, there’s no question. In baseball, you would call that ‘in the zone.’ Baseball is such a funny game, I had struck out three times before that. That’s how quick things turn around… It’s not going to be all roses and sunshine all the time.”