2015 Splits Review: Brandon Nimmo | Astromets Mind

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

2015 Splits Review: Brandon Nimmo


Nimmo entered the 2015 season with a retooled swing that was supposed to help him turn on the inside pitch for more power, but he then failed to match his 2014 ISO and HR rates, so will power ever be a big part of his game, or will he be limited to a table-setter’s role?

2015 with Binghamton: 68 G, 302 PA, .279/.354/.368, 26 R, 12 2B, 3 3B, 2 HR, 16 RBI, 55 K: 26 BB (18.2 K%: 8.6 BB%), .343 BABIP, .089 ISO, 111 wRC+, 45.5 GB%: 23.9 FB%: 23.5 LD%: 7 PU%, 8.2 SwStr%, 17.7% Whiff/Swing, 4.05 P/PA, 15.8 AB/XBH, 27.3 HR/FB, 0-2 on stolen bases

2015 with Las Vegas: 32 G, 112 PA, .264/.393/.418, 19 R, 3 2B, 3B, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 20 K: 18 BB (17.9 K%: 16.1 BB%), .304 BABIP, .154 ISO, 121 wRC+, 56.3 GB%: 15.5 FB%: 22.5 LD%: 5.6 PU%, 9.3 SwStr%, 22% Whiff/Swing, 4.41 P/PA, 13 AB/XBH, 27.3% HR/FB, 5-9 on stolen bases



            The question above is one of several that has followed Brandon Nimmo since the Mets selected him with the 13th overall pick in the 2011 draft, which was a controversial pick considering how raw and untested Nimmo was at the time. The Mets have molded him into an impressive, yet still somewhat raw, prospect in the nearly 5 years since, and he enters 2016 as a 23-year old in AAA who is still playing CF – whether he will stick in CF is another question that’s followed him, and he did see some time in RF last year. He’s on the Mets 40-man, but the Mets outfield situation is very full at the major league level, and he’ll have a couple of expendable teammates on the 51s (Roger Bernadina and Travis Taijeron), so there is neither the expectation nor the need for him to help the Mets this year. That’s obviously a good thing since he needs more development time, but also because it should help keep Mets fans (particularly #MetsTwitter) off his back and out of his head this year. Unfortunately, there have been few updates on him since it was reported that he had a tear of the posterior tibial tendon in his left foot a month ago, so he’ll likely start the season late due to his first injury of 2016 – his health is another one of those questions that’s followed him. The projections for Nimmo range from platoon outfielder to everyday center fielder, but either could have a role on the 2017 Mets if he doesn’t stumble this year. From what I’ve seen, he’s still got enough speed to steal a few infield hits and handle CF with average range, but he looked like a potential plus defender during the small sample of games he played in RF, and he should get a chance to show off his underrated arm there more often. Below I take a look at some of his trends from 2015, and then share a bunch of 2015 GIF’s of Nimmo hitting, running, or tracking down the ball in the outfield.


Brandon Nimmo's 2015 Spray chart vs. LHP (on left) and vs. RHP (on right)


Distribution of the pitch count that Brandon Nimmo's PA's ended on in 2015



Table 1 – Brandon Nimmo 2015 Splits by Month
Month
PA
AB/XBH
BB%
K%
wRC+
GB%
P/PA
SwStr%
Wh/Sw
April
85
10.6
10.6
18.8
132
40.7
4.47
8.4
19.3
May
70
16
4.3
17.1
122
39.2
4.36
8.5
16.2
June
51
15.7
7.8
23.5
90
48.6
3.37
10.5
22.8
EL July
96
28
10.4
15.6
88
52.9
3.82
6.5
14.9
PCL July
17
14
11.8
17.6
18
41.7
4.59
10.3
21.6
August
78
21
17.9
17.9
109
58.3
4.45
8.9
21.8
September
17
4.7
11.8
17.6
268
63.6
4.06
10.1
23.3


Table 2 – Brandon Nimmo 2015 Splits by Pitcher Handedness
Throws
PA
AB/XBH
BB%
K%
wRC+
GB%
SwStr%
Wh/Sw
EL vs. L
66
59
7.6
21.2
90
57.8
8.2
18.3
EL vs. R
236
13.1
8.9
17.4
114
42.3
8.2
17.5
PCL vs. L
33
27
15.2
18.2
62
71.4
8
20.7
PCL vs. R
79
10.7
16.5
17.7
142
50
9.9
22.5


            Nimmo was off to a great start when injury struck in mid-May, and his production felt the pain when he returned a month later. It was a small sample, but Nimmo’s 4.41 pitches seen per plate appearance with Las Vegas ranked third among PCL batters with 70 PA last year. He’s always been knocked for a passive approach at the plate, and you can see from the pitch count distribution’s that about half of his PA’s end in a 2-strike count, but note that he puts the first pitch in play a fair amount too. He’s continued to show L/R splits in the minors (he only reached a 100 wRC+ against LHP’s with St. Lucie), and his groundball rates were extreme against southpaws last year.


Comparing Brandon Nimmo's 2014 and 2015 spray charts, AA and AAA only



Table 3 – Brandon Nimmo 2015 Splits by Batted Ball Type
Type
PA
BABIP
LG BABIP
wOBA
LG wOBA
EL on FB
51
.163
.200
.290
.367
EL on GB
99
.293
.247
.279
.236
EL on LD
50
.720
.705
.729
.750
PCL on FB
11
.250
.187
.825
.389
PCL on GB
41
.195
.251
.179
.239
PCL on LD
16
.688
.729
.676
.771


Table 4 – Brandon Nimmo 2015 Splits by Batted Ball Direction
Direction
PA
AB/XBH
BABIP
LG BABIP*
wOBA
LG wOBA*
GB%
EL to Center
68
31.6
9.6
.368
.374
.391
.389
26.9
EL to Opposite
61
28.4
15.3
.377
.286
.375
.308
34.3
EL to Pull
86
40
14.3
.298
.288
.341
.373
68.2
PCL to Center
21
28.8
21
.429
.370
.410
.385
42.9
PCL to Opposite
20
27.4
9.5
.300
.336
.312
.373
45
PCL to Pull
32
43.8
8
.207
.300
.386
.384
74.2
*LHB only
ªHis 2014 % breakdown with the B-Mets: 28% to center, 38.8% oppo, 33.2% pull


When I took a midseason look at how the altered swing was working for Nimmo, I noted that even though he wasn’t hitting for more power, it did appear like he was pulling the ball more. The numbers in Table 4 below back that up, and Nimmo’s pull-side production would improve over the remainder of the season, culminating in 3 homeruns and a triple pulled to RF during his month with Las Vegas. He didn’t really pull the ball in the air more though, instead displaying some extreme groundball rates when pulling the ball, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he starts seeing infield shifts at AAA. The PCL has a tendency to boost a player’s production on fly balls (see the post on Travis Taijeron), and that obviously happened for Nimmo, but even his 51 PA sample of fly balls with the B-Mets is too small to make any worthwhile observations from, though his success on fly balls will be a trend I follow when he returns to Las Vegas this season. That late season improvement could be a sign that he had moved past the injury and started to take advantage of his new swing, but it could also just be the PCL effect.
            Overall, given his platoon splits and limited game power to date, it’s easy to see why some outlets project him to be a future platoon outfielder. However, scouts who like him have pointed to his impressive batting practice power as a sign that more game power will come. Also, the passive approach that some scouts have complained about has led to above average walk rates at every stop, and he should be able to maintain an above average OBP in the majors. That plays at the top of the lineup, and while he doesn’t have the speed to steal a ton of bases, he has enough speed to take that extra base on hits from the guys behind him. There’s still the question of his platoon splits, but he’s kept his OBP and BB% up against LHP’s too: his OBP was .343 across both levels in 2015, and he has an 11.6 BB% against lefties between AA and AAA the past 2 seasons. When I look at Nimmo’s size, I see a player who should hit for power, but watching him play, you see that’s just not his game (yet). Because of this, while the fan in me holds out hope that more power will develop, I think his ultimate role is as a top of the order center fielder with a high OBP and average, at best, ISO. That definitely plays so long as his defense in center remains acceptable, but he’d likely be limited to a platoon role when he loses a step and is moved to RF. Baseball America had a similar evaluation for Nimmo in their 2016 Prospect Guidebook, concluding, "Scouts question how much impact he will provide without more power, but his overall skills could make him well-suited for a table-setter role."



Astromets Mind 2015 Coverage

4/29Triple, Double (left after the hit), Long run for a catch in CF
5/1Single
5/15Single, Infield single (left after the hit)
7/3Single
7/9Single



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