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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To The Coach Who Ruined The Game For Me

We can't blame you completely, but no one has ever stood up to you before.
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I know you never gave it a second thought, the idea that you're the reason I and many others, never went any farther in our athletic careers.

I know you didn't sincerely care about our mental health, as long as we were physically healthy and our bodies were working enough to play. It's obvious your calling wasn't coaching and you weren't meant to work with young adults, some who look to you as a parent figure or a confidant.

I also know that if we were to express our concerns about the empty feeling we began to feel when we stepped onto the court, you wouldn't have taken the conversation seriously because it wasn't your problem.

I know we can't blame you completely, no one has ever stood up to you before. No one said anything when girls would spend their time in the locker room crying because of something that was said or when half the team considered quitting because it was just too much.

We can't get mad at the obvious favoritism because that's how sports are played.

Politics plays a huge role and if you want playing time, you have to know who to befriend. We CAN get mad at the obvious mistreatment, the empty threats, the verbal abuse, “It's not what you say, its how you say it."

We can get mad because a sport that we loved so deeply and had such passion for, was taken away from us single-handedly by an adult who does not care. I know a paycheck meant more to you than our wellbeing, and I know in a few years you probably won't even remember who we are, but we will always remember.

We will remember how excited we used to get on game days and how passionate we were when we played. How we wanted to continue on with our athletic careers to the next level when playing was actually fun. We will also always remember the sly remarks, the obvious dislike from the one person who was supposed to support and encourage us.

We will always remember the day things began to change and our love for the game started to fade.

I hope that one day, for the sake of the young athletes who still have a passion for what they do, you change.

I hope those same athletes walk into practice excited for the day, to get better and improve, instead of walking in with anxiety and worrying about how much trouble they would get into that day. I hope those athletes play their game and don't hold back when doing it, instead of playing safe, too afraid to get pulled and benched the rest of the season.

I hope they form an incredible bond with you, the kind of bond they tell their future children about, “That's the coach who made a difference for me when I was growing up, she's the reason I continued to play."

I don't blame you for everything that happened, we all made choices. I just hope that one day, you realize that what you're doing isn't working. I hope you realize that before any more athletes get to the point of hating the game they once loved.

To the coach that ruined the game for me, I hope you change.

Cover Image Credit: Author's photo

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Bryce Harper And Manny Machado Are In A Race To The World Series

This offseason, two of the biggest free agents in recent memory of Major League Baseball (MLB), but as time went on neither Machado or Harper had signed a blockbuster deal.

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Manny Machado and Bryce Harper are two of baseball's greatest rising stars, and fans and teams were waiting for the 2018-2019 offseason where both Machado and Harper were going to be on the free-agent market. Throughout the offseason, neither superstar had signed a contract yet, and as time got closer for players to report to Florida, and Arizona for spring training. After the two were able to sign their respective contract, now people are wondering which player will be able to win their first World Series trophy with their new team.

Throughout the MLB offseason, reporters and fans have been drooling to see what contracts two of the biggest free agents in recent memory would receive this year.

As the winter months came and went, neither Machado or Harper had a job for the 2019 MLB season, and when pitchers and catchers reported to camp, the thought actually occurred that Machado or Harper would have to be bagging groceries when it came to Opening Day. As the old saying goes, once the first domino falls, the rest come crashing down, and on February 20th, 2019 the San Diego Padres signed Manny Machado to a 10 year, $300 million deal. Eight days later the Philadelphia Phillies signed Bryce Harper to a 13 year $330 million deal. Both Machado and Harper had opportunities to win with their previous teams, neither was able to hoist the Commissioner's Trophy.

While the Padres are "a few years away" from contending to win, we saw this year where the Atlanta Braves were able to expedite the process by bringing farm talent to the big leagues. The Phillies, on the other hand, are in a win now scenario, with stars like Rhys Hoskins, Aaron Nola, and Jake Arrieta, they have the chance to contend for the NL East and possibly a World Series title.

So, which star will be the first to get their rings fitted?

Bryce Harper, while Machado is an incredible player, he will have to go through the Colorado Rockies, which just extend future Hall of Famer Nolan Arenado and the Los Angeles Dodgers who will always contend for World Series titles. Harper, on the other hand, is going to a team that was one piece away from taking the division home a year ago, while it looks like Harper's former team the Washington Nationals will rebound after a mediocre year in their standards, and the aforementioned Atlanta Braves are the reigning division champs.

If the Phillies can get star pitcher Jake Arrieta back to CY Young form, and with the addition of veteran outfielder Andrew McCutchen, the Phillies are in a great scenario to win the World Series for the first time since 2008.

While by no means is the contract Harper got favorable to the Phillies, they knew that Harper was the missing piece to win the World Series. Also, I'm not saying Machado and the Padres aren't going to contend for World Series in the future, just not as soon as the Phillies are. Now, if the Padres can pick up a star pitcher to have a stranglehold on their rotation *cough, cough Dallas Keuchel* then possibly they can contend for World Series in 2-3 years. But, as everything stands right now the Philadelphia Phillies, along with Bryce Harper are on their way to win a World Series before the San Diego Padres with Manny Machado.

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