The New York Mets are going to have a gaping hole to fill in the outfield. It seems all but certain that Yoenis Cespedes will be departing for greener pastures once free agency really kicks into high gear. Juan Lagares seemed to regress in 2015 and it is difficult to tell if the team views him as an everyday player anymore. Will they fill their hole in center field by making a trade or acquiring a free agent? Or is there one other option? Do the Mets go out on a limb and hand the job to top prospect Brandon Nimmo?
Despite playing high school baseball in Wyoming, the 22-year old Nimmo was taken with the 13th overall pick in the 2011 Draft. Immediately after being selected, Nimmo received 44 plate appearances at two different levels of Rookie ball. He then spent all of 2012 with Brooklyn of the New York-Penn League and although he hit only .248, his on-base percentage was a robust .372. He moved up to another A ball level in 2013, this time with Savannah of the South Atlantic League where he hiked his average up to .273 but struck out 131 times. Nimmo split the next campaign between Single A St. Lucie and Double A Binghamton, showing a little more pop with ten home runs. In 2015, he played with the B-Mets and Triple A Las Vegas with a .362 on-base percentage in 434 total plate appearances. Power went down as he had only half the home runs he hit the prior year but so did strikeouts, fanning only 75 times.
MLB.com has Nimmo ranked as the organization’s number two prospect behind Steven Matz. Though he hasn’t shown much in terms of power and extra base hit ability, they believe that it will show up more on the Major League level. His ability to play all three outfield spots will certainly warrant a callup at some point in 2016. However, he is not ready to assume a starting outfield spot as the Mets look to defend their National League crown. New York needs an another impact bat in center and Nimmo at the moment is not that guy. He also doesn’t appear to be a guy that will hit 20 home runs a year consistently. However, if he can get to 15 and keep that OBP above .375, the Mets will have a nice compliment to Michael Conforto for the next several years.