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NY Mets Lineup: Three best options to hit lead off for the 2021 season

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 14: Brandon Nimmo #9 of the New York Mets celebrates after scoring a run in the eighth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Citi Field on September 14, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 14: Brandon Nimmo #9 of the New York Mets celebrates after scoring a run in the eighth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Citi Field on September 14, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
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PHILADELPHIA, PA – AUGUST 16: Brandon Nimmo #9 of the New York Mets in action against the Philadelphia Phillies during an MLB baseball game at Citizens Bank Park on August 16, 2020 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

Brandon Nimmo

This is my ideal choice to hit at the top of the order for the Mets. Despite never hitting .300, he has never had an OBP under .375 in his last four seasons. He draws a ton of walks and gets hit by a ton of pitches. In 2018, which is his only healthy season in which 162 games were played, Nimmo was fourth in all of baseball in OBP and led the league in hit by pitches.

The big issues with Nimmo have nothing to do with his bat. One big issue that I don’t think gets spoken about enough is his inability to stay on the field. As mentioned prior, Nimmo has one season in which he has stayed healthy (for the most part) during a 162-game season. In 2019, Nimmo was dealing with a neck injury after crashing into a wall which he tried playing through. He struggled mightily when on the field and finally went on the injured list in May.

Once he came back at the end of the season, he started to put up Nimmo type numbers. He slashed .261/.430/.565 with five home runs and 15 RBI in the month of September. Nimmo has had a bunch of other injuries that have forced him to miss time and this was an issue when he was in the minor league level as well. If he is unable to stay on the field consistently, it can be a real problem long term.

The other big hole in his game is his defense in center field. Had the Mets signed George Springer I think that would’ve done wonders for Nimmo because he would’ve been placed in a much more comfortable position for him, left field. While I don’t think this has affected his bat at all, it is something he has to work on and will probably be a reason he’s not in the lineup every day unless a DH is added.

The one weakness Nimmo has with his bat is his ability to hit left-handed pitching. In 2020 Nimmo slashed just .196/.317/.333 with one home run and two RBI against lefties. Michael Conforto had the same issue and he finally broke out against southpaws in 2020. If Nimmo gets the reps against the lefties I think eventually he will turn it around.

Nimmo possesses an ability to get on base and even if he doesn’t get on base, there aren’t many times he comes up and it’s not a 3-2 count. Leading off a game and forcing the pitcher to throw a ton of pitches right away is valuable whether that batter gets on base or not. Nimmo also possesses some sneaky power. He hit 17 home runs in 2018 and eight in his 225 at-bats this past season. That put him on pace for 21 home runs if this season had 162 games. With guys like Jeff McNeil, Michael Conforto, and Pete Alonso behind him, combined with Nimmo’s ability to read the strike zone, he should see plenty of pitches to hit in that spot.

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