As this young season has progressed, I have wondered when the right time would be to write that “when should we start worrying about Brandon Nimmo” post. I almost wrote it early last week. Then again a couple of days ago. I might have if I wasn’t battling a slight strain of the crud which has put me into an early stage of la la land.
As we have devolved into the world of panicking after every game, forgetting that this isn’t the NFL (and doesn’t need to be), the outrage ranged from moving him down in the order (reasonable) to sending him down to the minors (ridiculous). That among all the good seasons the Mets lineup has been having it’s Nimmo that has been in the prolonged slump has been a huge surprise. If anybody would have been Chili Davis’ A+ student, most people including myself would have thought it would be Nimmo. Instead, he came into Friday hitting .150 with one home run.
But the good thing about Nimmo is that he hasn’t stopped walking. We have a world of advanced stats that is fascinating to dive into, even if you can’t quite figure out how the sausage is made. Something quick I go to is this: If a player’s batting average is low, how far ahead is his OBP? In short, is he still walking? Nimmo has had more walks than hits (seven walks, six hits). His .150 average was accompanied by a .306 OBP. An 80 point difference is good in my eyes, Nimmo had a 156 point difference, which tells me that even with the 23 K’s (a huge problem for a hitter like Nimmo), he would snap out of it … and no minor league stint would be of help to him.
The Mets took the reasonable step of dropping him to the eight hole, and Nimmo responded. He went 3-for-4 with a dinger, a double, and a bunt single, drove in two and scored twice (and … no K’s) in a 6-2 Mets victory in Atlanta. His average is up to .205 and his OBP is .340. Hopefully the button that Mickey pushed tonight reset Nimmo and cleared his head a little bit. It’s still April 12th. Nimmo shouldn’t have to worry about being benched or demoted because of a small slump. If Nimmo needs that as motivation, we’re all in trouble. I don’t think he does.
Also, it’s April 12th.
Zack Wheeler, who I admit I panicked a little more on than Nimmo, also bounced back nicely. He gave up two runs in six innings and more importantly, threw 69 strikes in 111 pitches. His breaking ball was a tad inconsistent … he threw a nasty one to Josh Donaldson to make him look bad, but in the same at-bat threw a helicopter that Donaldson lined into left field. But overall it was a much better effort than his last game against Washington.
The bullpen was comprised of two pitchers who had fallen ill at different points in the past week, but look like they’re at 100% strength now. Justin Wilson threw a clean 7th and needed only 8 pitches to set the Braves down, and Seth Lugo took care of the final two in 34 pitches, but only gave up one run while looking more like himself. As somebody who is getting over a bout with the creature, I sympathize. Nobody can function right with the creature let alone pitch in major league games. The way the bullpen has been going, a healthy Lugo is a much needed boost. With Jason “Allergic to the Sixth” Vargas going on Saturday, that bullpen will need to be at full throttle.
But so far so good. 2-0 on the road trip, 9-4 on the season, best record in the National League. I seem to recall the Mets having a good record after 13 games last season too. So I’ll just keep my optimism to myself. (Don’t I always?)
Today’s Hate List
- Chase Utley
- Magic Johnson
- Derek Jeter
- Gary Sanchez
- Joe Girardi