The spotlight has been on Brandon Nimmo since he was the 13th overall draft pick of the Mets in the 2011 amateur draft, despite never playing high school ball. He only played American Legion ball, as his home state of Wyoming did not have high school baseball. He was the first-ever draft pick of the Sandy Alderson regime and was drafted ahead of such players as Jose Fernandez, Sonny Gray, Michael Fulmer, Joe Panik, and Trevor Story. Players who were selected ahead of Nimmo in that talent-laden draft included Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon, Francisco Lindor, Javier Baez, and George Springer.
As of this writing, in 192 plate appearances with the Mets, he is producing a stat line of .274/.393/.433 (average/on base percentage/slugging percentage), which is a steady improvement from the numbers he produced in his 2015 stint with Binghamton, where in 302 plate appearances his line read .279/.358/.368.
Nimmo now looks like a completely different player at the plate from his stay in Binghamton. In 2015 he rarely pulled any pitches, constantly hitting to left field. This was interpreted as his having a “slow bat,” one that could not get around on a good fastball. This year, however, he is pulling pitches far more than in past years, showing an ability to hit to all fields, with increased power. The difference in Nimmo can be traced to his changed batting stance, where he is now using his legs more and holding his hands lower.
Let’s take a look at Nimmo’s changed stance. First we’ll look at how he hit when he was with Binghamton in 2015.
In the above photo Nimmo stands ready at the plate at NYSEG Stadium in 2015. His weight is on his back leg, with a stiff front leg. His hands are chin high as he awaits the pitch.
In the below photograph Nimmo starts his swing by raising his front foot ever so slightly and cocking his bat behind his ear, with the barrel of the pointing toward the mound. To offer at the ball, Nimmo has to bring his hands back, reversing the angle of his bat, which adds time to his overall bat speed.
Now let’s look at his stance today.
The below photograph shows Nimmo at bat in a September 4th game against the Philadelphia Phillies this year at Citi Field. Notice how much Nimmo’s stance has changed. He has both knees bent, allowing him to use his legs in a “spring-like” fashion.
At the big league level, Nimmo has two hitting coaches with whom to work, Kevin Long and Pat Roessler. Their guidance has led to Nimmo having a more crouched and widespread stance, allowing Nimmo to use his legs more in his swing. His hands are also lower, which has helped him eliminate any semblance of a “bat wrap,” giving him a quicker bat. In the below photograph we see Nimmo as he begins his swing. His hands are low and back, allowing him to have a short path to an outside pitch, while the increased flexibility in his legs allows him to turn quicker on an inside pitch.
Is Nimmo’s production with the Mets a sign that he is a developing talent who can be counted on to be an everyday player in the majors? That is a question the Mets must answer this offseason. Two things in Nimmo’s favor are his disciplined batting eye at the plate and his incredible work effort. His supporters feel if he can learn to “hunt” the pitches that he can handle (e.g., fastballs low and inside, etc.), he will be able to hit with enough power to justify a corner outfield spot.