The New York Mets are still alive in their quest for a wild card berth, and one of the most valuable contributors has been outfielder Brandon Nimmo. After emerging as a key hitter a year ago, Nimmo struggled early in 2019 before landing on the injured list with a neck issue. That injury sidelined Nimmo for several months, but since coming back earlier this month he has looked much more like the player the Mets were thrilled to have in 2018.
In 32 at bats this month, Nimmo is batting .250 with four home runs and nine RBI’s. The Mets have eased Nimmo back into action, platooning him as they rotate players through the outfield, but Nimmo could force his way into more playing time if he keeps up his recent hot streak. Nimmo’s excellent eye at the plate has returned, with Nimmo compiling a .468 on base percentage in September, and he has looked more comfortable back on top of the batting order.
Its easy to forget that the Mets entered the season with Nimmo as their projected every day center fielder and leadoff hitter, but his 2018 season was remarkable. A poor start led to questions as to whether or not Nimmo’s production was a fluke, with many speculating that he may best fit as a fourth outfielder on a contender. That could still be the case, but Nimmo has provided such a spark to the Mets of late that the argument can be made that he should be the primary center fielder in 2020.
With a deep roster projected to return for 2020, the one spot that most outsiders have targeted for an upgrade is center field. Juan Lagares’ option for 2020 should be declined, and most assumed that the Mets would go looking for an every day center fielder who can both hit and field. Nimmo is showing now that he has more of what made him a star in 2018 in him, and if he keeps it up by the end of the season it could convince the Mets to invest in Nimmo as the regular center fielder.
This is also huge for the Mets since they are projected to have limited financial flexibility entering this offseason. With a lot of money tied into this roster already, the Mets will have to get creative to address their major needs, such as fixing the bullpen and finding a starter if Zack Wheeler leaves in free agency. Center field has long been considered a need, but if Nimmo keeps up his strong September the Mets may be able to simply look for another complementary piece instead of a regular fixture in the outfield.