In most seasons with the New York Mets or any other team for that matter, there are several candidates on the roster capable of putting together what we’d consider a career year. This is a season that stands tall above all others.
The Mets don’t actually have too many guys who are obvious candidates to put together a campaign like this. Pete Alonso will have a tough time setting a new personal best in home runs or RBI. Francisco Lindor has had too many great years in Cleveland for us to expect him to top those.
There are two candidates I’m torn about believing they are the best to have the best year of their career in 2023. Jeff McNeil was one of them. Coming off of a batting title, I considered him heavily. After some thought, I decided to go to someone else. It's Brandon Nimmo.
Why Mets center fielder Brandon Nimmo could have a career year in 2023
Staying healthy has been a problem for Nimmo in his career. He’ll come into the 2023 campaign with only two seasons of 100+ games played. It’s pretty remarkable.
Let’s take something else into account. He wasn’t a full-time player until 2018 when he had one of his two 100+ seasons. It’s really only 2019 and 2021 when he missed significant time. He’s coming off a year with the Mets where he logged 673 plate appearances in 151 games. Nimmo stayed on the field and continued to produce at a high rate.
Something Nimmo didn’t do amazingly well was reach base at the rate we have seen him do before. His .367 OBP in 2022 was actually the second-lowest. Only the 80 plate appearances in 2016 with a .338 OBP is lower.
What made Nimmo an attractive player for the 2022 Mets was how well he did many things. He scored 102 runs, knocked 30 doubles, and slashed .274/.367/.433. He was balanced while providing them with some of the best defensive center field they could find.
The happiest man in baseball did leave room for improvement in the first season of his new eight-year contract. Drawing more walks is one way to do it. So is increasing his batting average closer to the personal-best of .292 he had in 2021. It’s somewhat lost how well Nimmo played that year because of how much time he missed (only 92 games played) and how much many other position players disappeared.
An age 30 season is a great time to have a career-year. Another 100 runs scored, an extra 15 singles, and a dozen more walks alone will put him in the territory.
A rare center fielder in today’s game who can offer a ton to his team, will his next season with the Mets be the best he ever has? If so, baseball in Queens will be a lot more fun.