The Transformation Of Brandon Nimmo

The Transformation Of Brandon Nimmo

How the young star went from the odd man out to a dependable stud.
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Throughout the course of the past few years, the Mets have been building a youth movement in New York. And while the lineup and rotation are lined with a combination of budding and developed stars from top to bottom, one certain player has the chance to become the future of the Mets organization: Brandon Nimmo.

Nimmo’s name often goes overlooked in Queens, as the Wyoming native has served as the fourth player in a three-man outfield. Over the course of the past 3 years, Nimmo has had less plate appearances for the Mets than Michael Conforto, Yoenis Cespedes, and Jay Bruce. While all three of the aforementioned players outclass Nimmo on paper and certainly deserve a spot in the Mets lineup, Nimmo has proved himself to be a formidable part of an already talented team, and yet, has historically received minimal opportunities to showcase his talents.

Last season, Nimmo only played 69 games at the major league level with 215 plate appearances. When you consider that Conforto and Cespedes both had their seasons shortened by injury, and Bruce was traded to Cleveland in August, there were ample opportunities for the Mets to utilize Nimmo’s untapped potential. Still, the Mets continued to stunt Nimmo’s progression as veterans such as Juan Lagares, Curtis Granderson, and Nori Aoki headlined the outfield on most days in 2017, relegating Nimmo to the bench, or worse, the minor leagues.

However, in 2018, the New Mets have crafted a formidable roster that posts young players across the entire diamond. A new generation of players in Conforto, SS Amed Rosario, and of course the entire starting rotation has already proven that they can compete at the highest level, as back-to-back playoff berths in 2015 and 2016 solidified the Mets as legitimate contenders in the National League.

And now, in 2018, the Mets are looking incredibly strong, as the team won 5 of its first 6 games. However, with Michael Conforto returning from injury a full three months earlier than expected, Brandon Nimmo’s future hangs in the balance once again. It remains to be seen how the Mets will use Nimmo going forward, but if his .375 AVG and .615 OBP are any indicators, the Mets would be wise to find a slot for Nimmo in the lineup. With Cespedes in LF, Conforto in CF, and Bruce in RF, it would seem that Nimmo is the odd man out once again. However, with Nimmo being thrusted into the non-existent fourth outfielder slot, only one option remains for the Mets if their plan is to somehow work all four outfielders into the lineup on any given day.

If Cespedes, Conforto, Bruce, and Nimmo are all going to find their way into the lineup, one of them must move from the outfield into the infield. The obvious choice for New York would be to move Adrian Gonzalez from 1B to the bench and Jay Bruce from RF to 1B. However, Gonzalez has been hitting the ball incredibly well throughout the early stages of the 2018 season, as he’s hit .294 through his first 21 ABs, solidifying his spot as the team’s starting 1B. Additionally, Bruce hasn’t taken any reps at 1B since May of 2017, and has only played the position a handful of times in his career.

And while he might be the most fit of all the Mets outfielders to make a positional shift, it would still make sense for the Mets to run a lineup that features Cespedes, Conforto, and Bruce in the outfield, with Nimmo holding down the first position on the bench, as his unmatched ability to come up clutch in a big pinch hit situation will be much needed for New York throughout the course of the season. Collectively, the team has hit .203 in pinch-hit situations since 2016, whereas Nimmo alone has utilized pinch hit situations to hit for a staggering average of .311 since the start of his career.

Essentially, Brandon Nimmo is a major focal point when it comes to reaching base for the Mets. Only Michael Conforto held a higher OBP for the team in 2017, as Nimmo’s prowess in the box was a major catalyst for the team’s wild-card run only one year prior. And now, with the 2018 season fully underway, Brandon Nimmo’s future looks to be solidified as the clutch pinch hitter the Mets have desperately needed for so long.

For a team that was starting Nori Aoki and Travis Taijeron just six months ago, the Mets finally have a good problem: too much talent, and not enough spots in the lineup. And although the season is still young, Brandon Nimmo is already becoming a shining example of this concept. Hopefully, for the Mets, talent can bloom throughout the course of a season that has already looked incredibly promising.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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The Coach That Killed My Passion

An open letter to the coach that made me hate a sport I once loved.
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I fell in love with the game in second grade. I lived for every practice and every game. I lived for the countless hours in the gym or my driveway perfecting every shot, every pass and every move I could think of. Every night after dinner, I would go shoot and would not allow myself to go inside until I hit a hundred shots. I had a desire to play, to get better and to be the best basketball player I could possibly be.

I had many coaches between church leagues, rec leagues, personal coaches, basketball camps, middle school and high school. Most of the coaches I had the opportunity to play for had a passion for the game like I did. They inspired me to never stop working. They would tell me I had a natural ability. I took pride in knowing that I worked hard and I took pride in the compliments that I got from my coaches and other parents. I always looked forward to the drills and, believe it or not, I even looked forward to the running. These coaches had a desire to teach, and I had a desire to learn through every good and bad thing that happened during many seasons. Thank you to the coaches that coached and supported me through the years.

SEE ALSO: My Regrets From My Time As A College Softball Player

Along with the good coaches, are a few bad coaches. These are the coaches that focused on favorites instead of the good of the entire team. I had coaches that no matter how hard I worked, it would never be good enough for them. I had coaches that would take insults too far on the court and in the classroom.

I had coaches that killed my passion and love for the game of basketball.

When a passion dies, it is quite possibly the most heartbreaking thing ever. A desire you once had to play every second of the day is gone; it turns into dreading every practice and game. It turns into leaving every game with earphones in so other parents don't talk to you about it. It meant dreading school the next day due to everyone talking about the previous game. My passion was destroyed when a coach looked at me in the eyes and said, "You could go to any other school and start varsity, but you just can't play for me."

SEE ALSO: Should College Athletes Be Limited To One Sport?

Looking back now at the amount of tears shed after practices and games, I just want to say to this coach: Making me feel bad about myself doesn't make me want to play and work hard for you, whether in the classroom or on the court. Telling me that, "Hard work always pays off" and not keeping that word doesn't make me want to work hard either. I spent every minute of the day focusing on making sure you didn't see the pain that I felt, and all of my energy was put towards that fake smile when I said I was OK with how you treated me. There are not words for the feeling I got when parents of teammates asked why I didn't play more or why I got pulled after one mistake; I simply didn't have an answer. The way you made me feel about myself and my ability to play ball made me hate myself; not only did you make me doubt my ability to play, you turned my teammates against me to where they didn't trust my abilities. I would not wish the pain you caused me on my greatest enemy. I pray that one day, eventually, when all of your players quit coming back that you realize that it isn't all about winning records. It’s about the players. You can have winning records without a good coach if you have a good team, but you won’t have a team if you can't treat players with the respect they deserve.

SEE ALSO: To The Little Girl Picking Up A Basketball For The First Time


Cover Image Credit: Equality Charter School

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Listen Up Sports Fans, It's Time To Give The Mets The Attention They Rightfully Deserve

The New York Mets struggled mightily last season, and with new front office management, here's how the Mets are shaping up for next season.

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The New York Mets were at the bottom of the pack in the MLB last season. They look like they are starting to shake things up a lot, but we won't know if that helps until the season starts. Here's how things are shaping up to look.

1. The Mets hired a new General Manager who is very active

The New York Mets recently hired a new General Manager, Brodie Van Wagenen. After his hire, many Mets fan were skeptical of him since he was an agent who represented MLB players and had no general management experience. However, right off the bat (pun intended), Van Wagenen is shaking up the Mets roster with an early offseason trade, and likely several more to come.

2. But hopefully not too active

There is a perfect balance to a general manager's activity level. Too few trades and signings mean the team is likely to do just as poorly as last season, and the fans won't be too happy about that, especially because the fans are from New York. Yikes. On the other hand, too many trades mean that you're inevitably going to trade away a player that you shouldn't have and you'll get next to nothing in return, again leaving New York sports fans angered, and that's something you just never want to do. As per trade rumors regarding the New York Mets, it seems as if the new GM is coming close to pulling off a bad trade surrounding Brandon Nimmo, Michael Conforto, or Amed Rosario.

3. Robinson Cano is a crucial piece to the puzzle for the Mets

The Mets recently acquired all-star second baseman Robinson Cano and arguably the best closing pitcher in baseball last season, Edwin Diaz. While Diaz is a key addition to the roster, Robinson Cano is really the centerpiece. Cano spent many seasons playing for the New York Yankees, so he has experience playing in New York — good experience, too. He was an all-star four out of his eight seasons with the New York Yankees, so he definitely has shown his skill set off in New York.

4. But things could turn sour with Robinson Cano

Last season, Robinson Cano was suspended for 80 games for using performance-enhancing drugs. If he did that while playing in Seattle, it would be easy to imagine how quickly things could take a turn for the worse if he is playing in New York.

5. There are still many good free agents to sign

While some free agents like Patrick Corbin have recently been taken off the market, there still remains a large number of quality players who have yet to sign with a team. Perhaps the biggest free agent name in any sport is Bryce Harper. The Mets should make a serious push to sign Bryce Harper which would definitely smooth things over with New York fans if the new GM decides to follow through with that aforementioned bad trade.

6. But time and money are running out

The Mets have little time left to meet with these big free agents since many other teams have already had meetings with Harper and other players like Manny Machado. Additionally, it doesn't help that the Mets only have limited money left to sign players when they still need to focus on resigning some of their own.

The New York Mets have made some very positive changes this offseason, but there are plenty of opportunities for negative changes, too. We'll just have to wait and see how the rest of the offseason goes and pray for a good 2019 season for the New York Mets.

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