By Zach Gewelb
Jacob deGrom is the only Met to be named an All-Star this season, but he’s not the only member of the team who deserved a trip to Washington, D.C., to participate in the Midsummer Classic.
Outfielder Brandon Nimmo has burst onto the scene for the Mets in 2018 as one of the team’s few bright spots in yet another mediocre campaign. Nimmo leads the club in on-base percentage and OPS and is among the club’s most consistent hitters, especially with Yoenis Cespedes and Jay Bruce sidelined.
Nimmo, the Mets’ first-round pick (13th overall) in the 2011 MLB Draft, has shown each of the five tools that merited his high selection seven years ago. As of this writing, the Wyoming native has hit for power (12 homeruns) and has shown a keen eye (35 walks) hitting atop the Mets’ lineup. He also leads the Mets with a WRC+ of 145. WRC+ attempts to credit a hitter for the value of each outcome rather than treating all hits or times on equally, while also controlling for park effects. The league average WRC+ is 100, and Nimmo’s is well above-average. The next closest on the team is part-time outfielder Jose Bautista (137) and starting infielder Asdrubal Cabrera (124).
Nimmo’s 2.5 WAR — via Fangraphs — is also tops on the team among position players. Asdrubal Cabrera has the second highest mark at 2.0. Jacob deGrom (4.1) is the only Met to have a higher WAR than Nimmo.
Putting advanced metrics aside, Nimmo also passes the eye test. He gets on base, drives runs in, hits for power and plays strong defense in the outfield. And he always plays hard. The guy gives 100 percent effort on the field, and that’s a quality that should be recognized within the organization. The team’s captain (David Wright) hasn’t seen the field in a couple of years and it’s stars — Yoenis Cespedes and Noah Syndergaard — have trouble staying healthy.
The Mets need a player to lead by example and Nimmo has taken on that role and excelled. He should be considered a part of the Mets’ core for years to come.
And, as the numbers suggest, he should have been named an All-Star this season. While he can still make the team as a possible injury replacement, he should’ve been selected as a reserve in the first place.
There are six outfielders on the National League All-Star team: starters Nick Markakis, Matt Kemp and Bryce Harper and reserves Lorenzo Cain, Christian Yelich and Charlie Blackmon.
Nimmo’s 2.5 WAR is better than all but one of the six. Cain leads the group with a 3.4 WAR. Nimmo would be tied for second with Markakis, who received the most votes out of all NL outfielders and will start in the Midsummer Classic. Nimmo’s WRC+ would also rank second, trailing only Matt Kemp’s mark of 146.
The six National League All-Star outfielders all have a case to be on the team. So does Nimmo. In fact, his case is better than most of the six.
Nimmo drew the short straw this year, even though he deserves to be there. But if he can keep up his high level of play in the future, chances are he will play in multiple All-Star Games before his career is over.
Reach reporter Zach Gewelb by e-mail at zgewe