Nimmo: 'I take a lot of pride in my whole game'

Outfielder's patience at plate helping case for Mets' 2018 roster

Nimmo: 'I take a lot of pride in my whole game'

MIAMI -- When the Mets walked off the field Wednesday following their 9-2 loss to the Marlins, only 16 Major Leaguers with at least 150 plate appearances held a higher on-base percentage than Brandon Nimmo. Among them were the likely Most Valuable Player Award winners in both leagues, as well as multiple other candidates for baseball's most prestigious individual honor.

Nimmo also ranked sixth in walk rate, on a list led by Joey Votto, Mike Trout and Aaron Judge. Nimmo has established himself as one of the game's most patient hitters, despite considering plate discipline just one fragment of his game.

Starting every day for the first extended stretch of his career, Nimmo is thriving by any measure. His solo homer in the seventh inning Wednesday improved his slash line to .308/.433/.538 over his past 16 games, with three home runs, 11 RBIs and nine runs scored -- and, yes, a dozen walks.

"I take a lot of pride in my whole game," Nimmo said. "A part of my game is getting on base. I feel like I command the zone pretty well … and I am proud of that."

Entering Wednesday's play, Nimmo ranked sixth in baseball in chase rate, swinging at just 16.7 percent of the pitches he saw outside the strike zone. Part of that is simply Nimmo's nature as a hitter; he also ranked eighth in swing rate on pitches inside the zone. But much of it is a concerted effort to reach base at the highest clip possible.

Minutes after Wednesday's game, Nimmo was in the Mets' video room watching not his home run, but instead the borderline 3-1 pitch he swung at in his final plate appearance -- a popup to third base.

"I'm disappointed with myself for missing that pitch," Nimmo said. "What I can control is that I missed that 3-1 pitch, and so that's what I'll take away from this and go work on."

Manager Terry Collins indicated that Nimmo, who is batting .268 overall this season with four home runs, two stolen bases and an .804 OPS, could hit atop the Mets' lineup in the near future. But that assumes Nimmo will actually be in it. The Mets will return starting outfielders Yoenis Cespedes and Michael Conforto next season, and they are likely to acquire more help via free agency. If that's the case, Nimmo and Juan Lagares will have trouble finding outsized roles on the 2018 roster, though they could platoon in center if Conforto requires a lengthy recovery from shoulder surgery.

All that's clear now is that Nimmo, thanks to his strong finish, will almost certainly make the Opening Day roster. Capable of manning all three outfield positions, Nimmo has been a plus defender at both corners. And at the plate, Collins noted, "he's got power and he's got bat speed," in addition to his trademark patience.

"I'm just trying to play to the best of my ability and control what I can control," Nimmo said. "If I give it my best effort and don't have any regrets about the work that I put in, then I'm going to be able to look myself in the mirror at the end of the season, and in the offseason, and be OK with it. I don't know where that puts me or what we're talking about for next year, because so many things are going to happen between now and then. But if nothing else, it's given me confidence -- and I hope given the team confidence -- that I can play at this level regularly."

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.