Brandon Nimmo can’t play center field
Another once true take, Nimmo was always playing out of position whenever he took the field in center. He routinely posted negative defensive numbers at the position early on in his career. And even if you didn’t follow the numbers, your eyes told you he wasn’t a natural at the position.
This all changed in 2021. I’m not sure what book he read or where he found Willie Mays’ masterclass on how to play the position but Nimmo turned into a pretty superb center fielder last year. He went from -5 defensive runs saved up to a positive 4. His range was better than league average and he made just a single error all year long in 678.2 innings at the position.
The performance in the field was completely different from what we had seen in the past. Nimmo, a guy every seemed to believe was a natural left fielder or right fielder, looked comfortable in center field. It was a good feeling. The Mets seemed to have found their center fielder for the next few years.
Well, the team did decide to bring in Starling Mate this winter. Likely to take over the center field job from Nimmo, perhaps the front office and the analytics team didn’t buy into the 2021 defensive performance. It’s not too tragic. This may just mean Nimmo is an even better defender at whichever corner he does slot into regularly. When Marte does need a day off, the Mets can also confidently insert Nimmo in as the center fielder. Hopefully, he doesn’t forget about whatever it was he did in 2021.