Where does Brandon Nimmo rank among the best Mets center fielders?
Brandon Nimmo was drafted by the New York Mets with the 13th pick of the 1st round of the 2011 MLB draft. He is from Cheyenne, Wyoming, a state where, oddly enough, they do not play high school baseball. Nimmo made his Mets debut in 2016. Injuries and the lack of a regular position held back his development early in his career. After the Covid-19 shortened 2020 season, Nimmo decided to rededicate himself to the weight room and working out. This made significant improvement to his foot speed. It allowed him to play a deeper centerfield and improved his defense, helping him go error-free on all of his 308 chances last season.
Nimmo has a lifetime batting average of .269 with a .385 on base percentage. This makes him one of the best table setters in baseball. An average year for him might also include around 15 HRs and 60 RBIs. These stats helped him earn an 8 year $162 million contract extension from the Mets during the offseason. Along with Pittsburgh’s Brian Reynolds and Atlanta’s Michael Harris II, Nimmo is one of the premier centerfielders and leadoff hitters in the National League. Neither a Golden Glove Award nor an All Star Game appearance are out of the question in 2023.
But, where does Brandon Nimmo fit in the New York Mets long history (and somewhat short list) of elite centerfielders? As hard as it may be to forecast the career of a young player and compare it to players who have had long and established careers, that's exactly what we are going to try to do.
Where does Brandon Nimmo rank among the best Mets centerfielders?
This is a list of the best centerfielders to play for the New York Mets. It wouldn't be totally inaccurate to list them in no particular order as each brought something unique to the team. But that wouldn't be nearly as much fun.
5. (Tie) Lee Mazzilli. Mazzilli had two different stints with the Mets, 1976-1981 and 1986-1989. He represented the Mets at the 1979 All Star Game and was a member of their1986 World Champions. Brooklyn born, he was a handsome home town hero at a time when the team was lacking star quality.
5. (Tie). Lenny Dykstra. Dykstra was with the Mets for parts of five seasons including their 1986 World Championship team. He hit .278 while batting leadoff and playing excellent defense. Along with Roger McDowell, Dykstra was part of the ill-fated trade with the Phillies for Juan Samuel in 1989.
4. Mookie Wilson. Wilson was involved in one of the most famous plays in baseball history. He was the batter who hit the ball that trickled through Bill Buckner’s legs in game six of the 1986 World Series, completing one of the most historic comebacks in Major League history. Wilson was a model of consistency throughout his career, hitting .274 home and away. He remains as a fan favorite today.
3. Brandon Nimmo. As we said earlier, it's hard to forecast the career of a young player and compare it to players who have had long and established careers, Nimmo’s accomplishments have been listed. His hardest part will be to continue along this path while remaining somewhat healthy and injury free. I’m a glass half full guy so to borrow a famous Mets quote, “You gotta believe” and I believe he will.
2. Tommie Agee. Agee played a large part of the Mets success during his five years with the team. Always known for his defensive skills, his two catches in game three of the 1969 World Series are still talked about today. Agee slugged 82 home runs and added 92 stolen bases during his time with the Mets, He was a team leader and a go-to guy who's contributions can’t all be measured in statistics.
1. Carlos Beltran. You can make a case to redistribute any of the previously discussed centerfielders in any other order. However, there's no denying Beltran his spot at the top of the list. In six years with the Mets, Beltran played in four All Star games, won three Gold Gloves, two Silver Sluggers, batted .280 with 149 HRs and 559 RBIs. “He was the straw that stirred the drink” as it was popular to say.
Honorable Mention: Willie Mays. Why? Because he’s Willie Mays! He may be the greatest five tool player of all time. He is certainly the best that I ever saw. Willie Mays spent his final two seasons with the Mets but what he had meant to the City of New York was enough for the Mets to retire his number.
You found Brandon Nimmo. This is where he fits among the best centerfielders of the New York Mets.