Brandon Nimmo’s struggles against left-handed pitchers are a little overblown. Even if he never hits southpaws, the New York Mets can get a lot out of him.
New York Mets outfielder Brandon Nimmo is having one of those breakout seasons fans won’t forget. After two small sample-sizes in 2016 and 2017, Nimmo has shown what he can do when given the chance to play regularly.
The biggest knock against him has been an inability to hit lefties well. It’s an issue with the entire team and not one I think should hold Nimmo back.
Through 55 plate appearances against southpaws, Nimmo entered Monday carrying a .196/.327/.304 batting line. He had driven in just one run against lefties, coming on a solo home run. Nimmo raised these totals with a productive day at Coors Field, showing just how much better he can become.
The batting line is still a poor total and one that Nimmo deniers (are they still out there?) may harp on. Is it really worth it, though? Nimmo has been one of the few productive Mets this season. Even if he never learns to hit lefties very well, he can have an impact on this team.
Hypothetically, if Nimmo is a career .200 hitter against lefties, there’s still no reason to use him strictly as a platoon player. A .200 batting average against them isn’t dreadful. This is especially true if he’s still drawing walks.
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I’ll take a .327 OBP and a low batting average over the opposite. Nimmo changes the game by getting on base. He does it well regardless of which arm the pitcher throws with.
Nimmo’s struggles against lefties are an opportunity to sit him on a rest day. Assuming Juan Lagares comes back healthy in 2019, we could see him in the outfield every so often in place of Nimmo.
Of course, Nimmo isn’t the only left-handed hitting outfielder on the Mets. Michael Conforto and Jay Bruce are there, too. To avoid a strict platoon, perhaps Lagares could replace Nimmo one day, Conforto the next, and then take over for Bruce. He may not get a chance to play over Bruce next season as I suspect the Mets will find a way to trade him or shift him to first base.
Plenty of good ballplayers have a weakness they never fix. The lone knock on Nimmo isn’t even as bad as some make it out to be.
It’s not saying much, but his OBP versus lefties this year (.327) is better than the OBP many of his teammates have versus everyone. I think we can live with his one flaw.
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How do you think the Mets should use Nimmo?