NEW YORK -- When the Mets selected Brandon Nimmo 13th overall in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, they raised eyebrows. An exceptional physical talent, Nimmo had rarely competed against the nation's top high school players, making him one of the riskiest and most intriguing picks of the entire Draft.
Two summers later, the Mets are watching closely as the outfielder develops into one of the more exciting prospects in Minor League Baseball. Despite an early-season injury, Nimmo made the South Atlantic League All-Star team on the strength of his standout April, showing regular flashes of his talent.
Now the world will be able to see those skills. Nimmo won the All-Star Sunday Futures Finalists ballot, MLB announced Monday, besting four others to earn a spot on the U.S. Team in the 2013 Sirius XM All-Star Futures Game. At Citi Field on July 14, Nimmo will play alongside fellow Mets prospect Noah Syndergaard, and perhaps square off against World Team pitcher Rafael Montero in the ballpark they all hope to eventually call home.
"I'm just looking forward to getting out to New York, and being on Citi Field and being around the fans. Hopefully they'll get to see me in person and get to interact with me," Nimmo said. "Just being around the fans and [letting them know] what I'm like in first-person. They've heard about me, but that's all they do when you're coming up through the Minor Leagues. It'll be nice to let them get to see me, and meet me. I'm just excited to meet the fans that voted me in."
U.S. Team futures finalists voting
|1.||Brandon Nimmo||Savannah Sand Gnats (NYM)|
|2.||Garin Cecchini||Portland Sea Dogs (BOS)|
|3.||Nick Castellanos||Toledo Mud Hens (DET)|
|4.||Tyler Austin||Trenton Thunder (NYY)|
|5.||Courtney Hawkins||Winston-Salem Dash (CWS)|
The 15th annual SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game takes place at 2 p.m. ET on All-Star Sunday in New York and can be seen live on MLB.com, ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD and followed live on MLB.com's Gameday. In addition, XM Radio will broadcast play-by-play coverage of the event live on MLB Network Radio XM 89. MLB.com will also provide complete coverage before, during and after the game. Fans can stay updated by following @MLBFutures on Twitter and can send/receive tweets to/from the U.S. and World Team dugouts during the game by tagging tweets with the hashtags #USDugout and #WorldDugout.
Syndergaard and Montero, the Mets' third- and eighth-ranked up-and-coming players on MLB.com's 2013 Prospect Watch, were named to the U.S. and World Teams last week. How does Nimmo feel about the idea of potentially lining up against Montero?
"He's very, very good. He spots up really, really well and has some movement on the ball. He makes it very tough for hitters, but I look forward to seeing him and how he's improving -- because I know he is," Nimmo said. "It'll just be a fun experience for me. I'm not going to try to put too much pressure on this game. I'm just going to have fun with it and enjoy the experience."
Nimmo, the Mets' fourth-ranked prospect, had to earn his ticket through a ballot that included Yankees outfielder Tyler Austin, Tigers outfielder Nick Castellanos, Red Sox third baseman Garin Cecchini and White Sox outfielder Courtney Hawkins. Nimmo admitted he was at least somewhat active on his own campaign.
"I just did a few things. I got on some radio stations, and I did a little thing where I got on the Mets' Twitter and got control of that to answer some questions for a little while," he said. "So we did a little bit of campaigning. I'm sure not quite as much as some of those [other] guys do to get into the All-Star Game, but it was definitely a new experience for me. It was a lot of fun, and it's something I'll never forget."
Nimmo earned the most votes despite a recent slump at the plate, which has dragged his average down to .277 with one home run in 52 games.
"I feel like we're right on track with everything," said Nimmo, 20. "I feel like I'm learning something new every day, and that's the way it's supposed to be going. Hitting-wise, I've shown I can be pretty dominant at this level. But I've also shown that I can have some rough days. I just need to work on the consistency of my swing, my mental approach every time I come to the plate. That's just going to take experience and at-bats."