Tomas Nido made it to the big leagues because of his work behind the plate. This year, the New York Mets backup catcher has shown some signs of life with a bat in his hand.
Behind the plate, New York Mets catcher Tomas Nido has become the go-to man for Jacob deGrom and more recently, Noah Syndergaard. The two pitchers haven’t always gotten their way and probably shouldn’t considering how much it changes the lineup.
However, with Nido’s recent improvements on offense, perhaps it’s time to reconsider calling Nido a backup. Instead, we may reach the point where he’s a part-time player who catches a little more often than originally anticipated.
The same man who hit .167/.200/.238 in 90 plate appearances for the 2018 Mets is now batting .256/.274/.390 for the same squad in 2019. Nido still has his shortcomings at the plate. He can’t draw a walk and has very little power.
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The lack of base on balls is what has me most pessimistic. This year, he has seen ball four only twice and one of those was an intentional walk. For his career, he has only 6 in 184 plate appearances. He has somehow managed to pop 3 home runs this year—which if you’re keeping score at home, is only one less than Robinson Cano has this season.
At 25, Nido is still developing. He has yet to reach 200 plate appearances so to fully evaluate him positively or negatively is unfair. Lately, however, he has looked much better.
At the very least, he’s no longer the automatic out he was last season during the desperate stretch after the team lost Travis d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki in the same week.
The timing of Nido’s improvement is perfect. Heading into the second half, the Mets can evaluate his exact role. I don’t like planned days off for position players other than catchers. If they can commit to starting him regularly with Syndergaard and/or deGrom on the mound, maybe he can continue to get enough at-bats to further improve at the plate.
It’s been a while since the Mets have had a catcher they could rely on for a sustainable period of time. Wilson Ramos was supposed to be the man for the job at least through 2020. His defense has been bad enough to give the lighter-hitting Nido far more innings. The result may have provided the Mets with an option once Ramos’ contract runs out.
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Nido has a long way to go before we can consider him a realistic everyday option. In a year like the one this team is having, we need to look at every positive grain of salt as a whole rock of the stuff. Nido’s warmer than expect bat is one I’ll look at favorably until he gives me a reason to doubt him once again.