The story of the New York Mets offense this season has been that of failure. Failure to drive in runners in scoring position, failure to get the big hit when it’s most needed. While all of this has been going on, however, there’s been a single bright spot in an otherwise anemic lineup. Enter Brandon Nimmo. His exploits as an on-base machine have always been known, but lost amidst the most eventful offseason in years was just how vital he is to the success of this team. That is, it was lost until Nimmo got off to one of the most incredible starts of any Mets player in history.
Through the first 11 games of the season, Nimmo is absolutely playing out of his mind. In 47 plate appearances, he has eight walks and 17 hits, including three doubles. He’s yet to go a single game without getting on base, and even started the season reaching safely multiple times in nine-straight games. Among those games are three in which he recorded three hits. And because it’s Nimmo, he also drew three walks in a single game back on April 6.
These stats have already given him a place in the history books. Last week, he set the franchise record for the most times getting on base through the first eight games of the season (21).
All in all, Nimmo is currently slashing .447/.543/.526 with a 204 OPS+.
A Torrid Pace
While this level of production is obviously unsustainable, it’s fun just to see how ridiculous it would be if Nimmo continued hitting like this all season. Currently, his best season came in 2018. That year, he played 140 games and recorded 114 hits, 28 doubles and 80 walks in 535 plate appearances (433 at bats). If you take his current numbers and extrapolate them over the same number of plate appearances and at bats, the results are truly mind blowing. At his current pace, Nimmo projects to finish with 193 hits, 34 doubles and 91 walks in 140 games.
On the all-time Mets leaderboards, Nimmo’s 193 hits would rank sixth for a single season. Likewise, he’d be tied for 13th in walks. Also, keep in mind that this assumes Nimmo only gets 140 games worth of plate appearances. Most of the guys ahead of him on these lists played closer to a full 162 games.
And because why not, how about one more absurd projection. Nimmo currently has 0.8 bWAR. If this number is also extrapolated over 140 games, this leaves him with an astounding 10.1 bWAR. For reference, his current career total through parts of six seasons is 9.3 bWAR.
Regarding how Nimmo stacks up against the rest of the league, things couldn’t be better. As of April 19, he is in the top 10 of 16 offensive categories.
Most notably, he leads the NL in batting average (.447) and on-base percentage (.543). Elsewhere, his 1.070 OPS ranks ninth and, while he doesn’t have enough at bats to qualify, his 204 OPS+ is fourth. He’s also second in the league with 14 singles.
All of this comes despite the fact that Nimmo’s only played 11 games, while the rest of NL has played upwards of 18.
To say Nimmo is playing like an All-Star is an understatement. If anything, he’s playing closer to an MVP. Again, while his current level of production obviously isn’t sustainable, even a .150 point drop in average and OBP would still leave him in elite company.
So what happens if Nimmo continues being the best player on the team throughout the season? So much has been said about extending Michael Conforto and Noah Syndergaard after this year, but what about Nimmo?
2022 is set to be his final year with the team before entering free agency. While he’s never been a superstar (a trend that could change real soon), he’s consistently been above average. The argument could even be made that he’s more valuable than Conforto. While his defense in center may be a negative, Nimmo is a natural left fielder. If the DH does return to the NL in 2022, he will undoubtedly shift back to left. If and when that happens, Nimmo’s value would see a huge boost.
Remember, Conforto wasn’t expected to command a large contract for most of his career, but then his MVP-caliber 2020 happened. If he can demand upwards of $150 million after only 54 games, imagine what Nimmo could demand after 150+. At the very least, barring injury, Nimmo will likely earn a contract worth over $100 million. Whether it’s with the Mets or someone else remains to be seen.
Featured Image Courtesy of Harry How/Getty Images
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