It's hard to ride Brandon Nimmo too hard for what he was able to do for the New York Mets in 2023. Compare him to other center fielders around the game and he's still one of the better guys in the league.
In year one of his new contract, the expectations were raised to a whole new level. Would he live up to the billing of the second largest contract in Mets history?
Did the Mets get everything they needed from Brandon Nimmo in 2023?
Nimmo didn't have a career year nor did he have anything close to the worst season on the back of his baseball card. The year was good and yet there's a taste of coming up small. Although he stayed healthy for the second straight year aside from a season-ending injury in the final days, he felt very absent at times.
The season ended with Nimmo slashing .274/.363/.466. It was oddly close to the .274/.367/.433 from the year prior with one major change: he hit 24 home runs compared to 16. Not known for hitting home runs, the addition of power to his arsenal is welcomed but maybe not so much if it means he’s going to resume striking out more.
Nimmo’s strikeout rate jumped from a career-low 17.2% in 2022 up to 21.4% in 2023. It may not seem substantial and yet it added 30 more in only 12 more plate appearances. Slightly down from the 22.1% in his career, it was an unwelcome rise when we add in a similarly good yet not spectacular walk rate for Nimmo.
Two areas where we all hoped he’d improve were on the base paths and on defense. Nimmo stole only 3 bases. His last was on April 10. The MLB rule changes did nothing to make him run any extra. He only attempted 6 stolen bases all season.
As far as defense is concerned, Nimmo dropped to -0.3 WAR on defense following two straight seasons of posting positive totals. He was worth -6 defensive runs saved, down from the -3 from the previous year. It's looking like Nimmo may indeed find himself in a corner outfield spot sooner than later. Recent improvements defensively were gone this year. Has age caught up? Were there lingering pains behind it?
No alarm bells are being rung after the year Nimmo had. He popped more home runs than ever before and managed to have almost identical slash line totals from the previous year that helped earn him his huge contract.
Nimmo’s season would have looked much different if it wasn’t for a lackluster July where he batted only .161/.282/.345. He hit .330/.435/.457 in the first month and had a .340/.400/.620 slash line in the final. Perhaps Nimmo’s year feels like a bit of a letdown because in the club’s final stand before the trade deadline, he was one of many unable to uplift the team.