Nimmo's dad, Ron, was a rancher. His father grew up on a ranch in La Junta, Colorado and his dad was a railroad guy, a conductor who bought land and did ranching. So the whole family is also into rodeo.
"What my dad found out in rodeo is it's not if you get hurt, it's when you get hurt," Brandon said. "All I wanted to do was bull ride. My older brother (Bryce) rode steers when he was younger. And my sister, Beryl, raced. They were in rodeo and I wanted to be a part of it, too."
One day when Nimmo was seven, he visited his grandfather in La Junta and got his first experience riding a bull.
"When you get on that calf, which can weigh anywhere from 400 to 700 pounds, you hop right on there," Brandon recalled. "It bucked me off, stepped on my ankle and ran around the arena. Somebody in my family got it on video and I was done it with it after that."
NO HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL IN WYOMING
- In 2010, Brandon was playing American Legion ball in a state that does not offer high school baseball.
“The huge adjustment for me was living in Brooklyn,” Nimmo said. “I’m used to 60,000. You can see for about 40 miles. Then you hop into the middle of 5 million people, where everybody’s on top of each other.”
In 2011, Nimmo's senior year at East High School in Cheyenne, Wyoming, he committed to the University of Arkansas on a baseball scholarship.
- But in June 2011, the Mets drafted him in the first round, and he signed (see Transactions below)
Wyoming does not have high school baseball and has produced just two draft picks in 10 years. Nimmo became the state's highest pick ever in June 2011.
That is when the Mets chose Brandon as their first round pick, the 13th player taken overall. And he signed on the August 15 deadline for a bonus of $2.1 million, via scout Jim Reeves. Nimmo is the first Wyoming high school player ever selected in the first round.
Brandon was a slot receiver and strong safety on his high school football team, but gave it up after his junior year.
He also ran track and was an accomplished sprinter. As a sophomore he finished third in the state (Wyoming) in the 200-meter dash (23.57 seconds), fourth in the 400-meter dash (53.19 seconds), and 10th in the 55-meter dash (6.97 seconds).
With no baseball team at his high school, Nimmo played American Legion ball and traveled to showcases. And the team played between 70 and 80 games per season. The farthest bus trip was 10 hours. And they'd go 7 hours to Omaha and even a 13-hour trip to Topeka, Kansas.
"My dad was instrumental in where I am today," Brandon said. "He built a barn (on the six-acre property the family owned just north of Cheyenne) that was 60 feet long and 40 feet wide for me to use in the winter. He put a heater in there so I could hit in the cage. He even grabbed some turf and put it in there. We used it for team practices and I got to go in there every day and hit off a tee."
- From 2005 to 2008, Brandon's older brother had a successful four-year career at the University of Nebraska. Bryce Nimmo hit .266 with six home runs, 80 RBIs and 42 stolen bases in 208 games for the Cornhuskers.
It was the way Bryce dealt with adversity, though, that stuck with Brandon, who would often make the seven- or eight-hour trip from Wyoming to Nebraska to see his brother play.
"He's gone through just about everything that baseball can throw at you, failure-wise, so we always talked about how Bryce was kind of the guinea pig for us with high-level baseball and learning what you have to do to put the past behind you," said Nimmo in 2012. "Anything that I experience, he's been through it.
"I call him, I call my dad, and that support system really helps with putting the past behind you, having someone to vent to," said Nimmo. "That's really key for me. I need 10 minutes to vent and then it's out of the system. We don't talk about it anymore."
In 2012, Baseball America rated Nimmo as the third-best prospect in the Mets' organization in both the spring of 2012. Same in 2013. In 2014, they had Brandon at #8 in the Mets' farm system.
He was back up to #3 in the Mets' organization in the spring of 2015, and at 5th-best in the off-season before both 2016 and 2017 spring trainings.
Brandon has outstanding makeup. That makeup allows him to get the most out of his ability with solid preparation and mental toughness.
His manager in 2012 at Brooklyn, Rich Donnelly, said, "I've hardly met anybody like him. I have 8 kids, including 5 sons, and would be honored to have him as my son. I've met his parents, and I know why he's the way he is.
"Nothing gets inside what he does on the field. He hasn't been affected by anything. He could be the number one draft pick of all time and you're going to get the same effort, the same work ethic and the same come-to-the-ballpark, grind-it-out effort every day.
"He's beyond special," Rich continued. "If you wrote down all of his qualities and then put his name up there and I asked, 'Who are you talking about?' You would say Derek Jeter or Craig Counsell.
"We try to teach the phrase, 'Instant Amnesia' in baseball. (Nimmo) already has it. If he has a bad at-bat and the next time up he hits a single, it's like nothing ever happened. What's important to him is anything he can do to help us win a ball game."
In 2013, Brandon ranked third in the low Class A South Atlantic League with 71 walks and fourth with a .397 on-base percentage.
- July 3, 2014: After learning of his promotion to Double-A, after just one hour of sleep, after two flights that took him from sunny Florida to upstate New York, the outfielder was packing his bag, readying to embark on a five-hour bus ride to Bowie, Maryland. Strength and conditioning coach Jason Griffin told him he could just leave it at his locker. Here, in Double-A, Nimmo and his teammates don't have to carry their own bags.
"I was like, 'Dang, all right, this is nice, this is nice,'" Nimmo said. "Just leave it right in front of your locker and they take it on the bus.
"It's just a little thing. As you move up, you get pampered a little bit more. It's nice that the focus is for you to be able to focus on the game and not the outside stuff. It's the little things that make a difference."
At an age when many are getting ready for their senior year of college—or just beginning their professional careers, if they were drafted—Nimmo has reached the second-highest rung on the Minor League ladder.
Nimmo has carried with him the hype of a first-round pick since the Mets made him the 13th overall selection in 2011, and that has followed him everywhere he's been. It manifested itself in the form of autograph seekers, all of whom left with smiles. Nimmo filled every request after a 4:30 a.m. arrival in New Britain.
"I'm enjoying it up here," Nimmo said of Double-A. "It's a new level, but I'm excited for what it has to teach me. It's still baseball. It's very, very minute changes. Just looking to learn from it and keep adjusting.
"It's pretty much been me," Nimmo said. "Normally I don't miss mistakes a lot, and when I'm not doing well, I'll miss mistakes sometimes. Maybe I'll foul them straight back or something like that. That's been one of the things that I've been able to notice. When I'm going well, I'll usually take as many swings as I do have at-bats."
According to Nimmo, who is a center fielder by trade but has dabbled in left with Binghamton, his most significant stride this season has been his range in the outfield. He said instead of watching the ball until he fields it, he'll read it off the bat, put his head down, sprint to "a spot" and pick it up again. This allows him to cover more ground quickly and forces him to get better reads.
"It's something I hadn't really trusted myself with before," Nimmo said. "Right off the bat, you need to have an idea of where that ball is going to end up, and that just comes from repetition, repetition, just practicing. That's the one thing we emphasized on in Spring Training they said they'd like me to work on, and I did, and it kind of just clicked with me. I've been able to put it into play a lot."
"It's nice to get affirmation that you're doing things right," Nimmo said. "That brought another level of excitingness for me, and even more motivation." (Tim Healey MLB.com 7/3/2014)
Back in 2014, Nimmo raised eyebrows the day he walked into his first big league camp. Gone, in Nimmo's recollection, was the "scrawny little kid" the Mets selected in 2011. In his place was a grown man who spent his winter at a the IMG Performance Academy in Bradenton, Florida, learning to eat right and packing on 20 pounds of muscle. Brandon then came to 2015 spring training with 8 percent body fat.
Nimmo proceeded to enjoy a breakout summer, elbowing his way into the landscape of the game's best outfield prospects. So although the Mets reassigned him to Minor League camp in their first round of big league cuts, Nimmo is confident he will be back before long.
"I need to be more consistent with hitting," said Nimmo, who appeared in only two Grapefruit League games due to a left thumb injury. "Obviously a little more power would be nice. But these are things that come with experience, and they're things that just come with playing this game and getting older. My big, big goal is to stay healthy. And that's really hard to control, but I'm going to try and do everything I can to control that, so that I can play every day, be out there and just get the at-bats. Because doing that, I'm going to learn the things that I need to learn."
Translating his new physique into results, Nimmo is, in that sense, vindicating the Mets. "Some of it may just happen with maturation and age," vice president of amateur scouting and player development Paul DePodesta said. "But a lot of it comes from a young man taking ownership of his career in a profession. That's hard for a 19- or 20-year-old to do. But someone with Brandon's makeup, he's taken advantage of the resources available to him, and he's doing everything he can to be as good as he can possibly be. (Anthony DiComo - MLB.om - March 13, 2015)
In 2016 at Las Vegas, Brandon led the Pacific Coast League with a .423 on-base percentage and finished second with a .352 average. He made his big league debut in June 2016.
August 4, 2016: Brandon's adventure began at approximately 3:40 p.m. ET on August 3, when he left New York City for Las Vegas. Optioned back to the Mets' Triple-A affiliate to receive steadier playing time, Nimmo was at peace with his demotion.
He landed around 7:00 p.m. PT, grabbed his bags and hopped in an Uber, which whisked him off to his apartment. Arriving there 15 minutes later, Nimmo received the first of several frantic calls. Yoenis Cespedes was heading to the disabled list. Please report back to New York immediately.
So Nimmo turned around, reversed his route to the airport, grabbed a quick meal past security and boarded a 10:00 p.m. PT red-eye flight back to New York. All told, he was in Las Vegas for about three hours, most of those spent at the airport. And when Nimmo arrived in New York, of course, there was traffic.
"It's kind of hard to sleep on the plane when you're upright," Nimmo said. "I had the exit row, but those don't lean back. So it was tough. I think I pieced together like three hours of sleep on the plane, then got like four or five when I got back to the hotel. But I'm glad to be back. Here, you run on adrenaline pretty easily."
When Nimmo walked into Yankee Stadium at 4:00 p.m. ET, teammate Josh Edgin pointed out that he was wearing the same clothes he left in the day before. Nimmo was also without his equipment bag, which the Mets had shipped separately to Las Vegas. So he had to borrow a glove for that day's game. (DiComo - MLB.com)
January 2017: Nimmo committed to play for Italy in the World Baseball Classic in March.
Dec 7, 2017: For eight months, Mets players Brandon Nimmo and Travis d'Arnaud spent much of their time together, both in Spring Training and throughout the baseball season. They discussed their impending weddings, both set to take place on the same weekend in November. Then they parted ways for the winter . . . or so Nimmo thought.
Weeks later, the Mets outfielder walked to the breakfast buffet at a hotel in Maui only to see his teammate standing right there.
"He hadn't planned his honeymoon yet when we talked last," Nimmo said. "He texted me earlier that morning, but I hadn't read it yet. I just went to breakfast. And then I just saw him walk to the buffet. I was like, "Travis! Travis!" And then we ended up going snorkeling for turtles."
Mets catcher Kevin Plawecki also revealed that he often has FaceTime sessions with Jacob deGrom. Apparently, the Mets just can't get enough of each other.
"I just thought that was hilarious," Nimmo said. "We spend all this time together and then we all go our separate ways, and somehow we end up still seeing each other by happenstance. Out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean." (A DiComo - MLB.com - Dec 7, 2017)
BIG ON CHRISTMAS
Here's a holiday-themed Q&A with Brandon, who shares how he spends his Christmas in and around snowy Wyoming:
MLB.com: What was a typical Christmas like for you growing up? Nimmo: On Christmas Eve, would always go to a town called La Junta, Colorado and spend that with my grandparents—my dad's parents. And then for Christmas Day, we would normally come back and spend that with just my immediate family—my brother and my sister in Cheyenne. Now we've come up with a tradition where we like to go up to Happy Jack in Wyoming. It's an old abandoned ski area. I don't do it anymore, but everybody would hop on inner tubes or sleds and take them down the ski jump. Even though I can't do that anymore, I'll go up and have fun, so now we do that on Christmas Day in the afternoon.
MLB.com: You recently became engaged. Have you been spending recent holidays with your fiancée? Nimmo: Yeah, for the past two years, she's been coming out to Wyoming. This year, we're all going to meet in Omaha, Neb., because my brother's on call for work, so we're going to take Christmas to him. It'll be a new tradition. But the premise of it all is to get the family together. We have a really tight-knit family, and we really do love and enjoy each other. I'm very, very blessed to have that, so we like to enjoy it all the time.
MLB.com: What was your favorite Christmas gift growing up? Nimmo: As a family one Christmas, we got a foosball table. Santa brought it. And I was like, 'Yes! Santa brought an amazing present!' We had that downstairs. That was a lot of fun because my dad, he played foosball, too. It was another way for my dad and I to connect, and I would play with my brother and sister, too. So I would say that one really stands out because it was a big one, a big present. I came running down the stairs, and we had a big foosball table all wrapped up.
MLB.com: Favorite Christmas movie? Nimmo: I really love "A Christmas Story." Oh, man. I watch the marathon, the 24-hour one, but we also have it on DVD. My dad loves the "fragile" part. We even have a leg lamp that we bring out. Mom won't let it come out this year, but my dad loves it. I thought it was awesome. It's a major award! I love that movie. It's a family tradition to watch that." (A DiComo - MLB.com - Dec 23, 2016)
MLB.com: What was a typical Christmas like for you growing up in Wyoming? Nimmo: For us, it was normally white and chilly. We usually had snow on Christmas. I remember hot cocoa, apple cider. And then we would always wait until Christmas morning to open up the presents. When I was young until I was probably like 12 or 13 years old, I could hardly sleep the night before. Christmas was always my favorite time of year. It was giving, it was presents, it was time with family. As I got older, my sister and my brother would go off to college and that meant time with them again. So for me, it's always held a special place in my heart.
MLB.com: What sorts of foods did you have? Nimmo: Normally we'd have a honey-glazed ham. My mom would always make twice-baked potatoes, and we'd have these other special potatoes that my grandma would make that were cheesy with cornflakes on top. They were amazing. We definitely got our starches. My dad would have some eggnog with some cinnamon or nutmeg on top. Another big thing was divinity candy, which is extremely hard to make. You have to get the sugar just right where it's malleable, so I remember that always being stressful for mom when she would make the divinity candy and fudge. But I do remember it being very, very good. It's pretty much pure sugar.
MLB.com: Now that you're spending your offseason living in New York, what does going back and spending time with your family at Christmas mean to you? Nimmo: It's really, really special because family time is fewer and far between now. With us kind of spread out across the country, it is very, very nice. That's the main reason that I like Christmas is to get back together with family. Everybody makes it a priority and you miss that time. There's really nothing like holidays in New York because everything's to the max. When my parents were down here right after Thanksgiving, I took them down to Saks Fifth Avenue to see the lights. We went to Rockefeller Center, and I showed them the skating rink. They've got it all decorated out. So we really do enjoy the holidays here too. (A DiComo - MLB.com - Dec 21, 2018)
Dec 4, 2019: You would have thought it was Christmas Day at Citi Field. But the kids at the Mets’ ballpark were not complaining that presents arrived early. Why? The Mets were hosting schoolchildren at their annual Kids Holiday Party in the Foxwoods Club at Citi Field. The festivities lasted two hours and included lunch, games and holiday performances from the kids from Queens. And can they sing. One of the best performances came from the P.S. 16 children, who sung "O Christmas Tree" in English and Spanish.
The Mets selected more than 100 students from local elementary schools to attend the event. Outfielders Brandon Nimmo and J.D. Davis along with mascot Mr. Met took part in the festivities. Nimmo played Santa, while Davis played the Baseball Hitting Elf. There’s Davis handing over Christmas presents to Nimmo, who then gave the gifts to the children. The kids couldn’t open the presents until they returned to school, and they received more gifts as they left Citi Field.
“It was great of the Mets to open up to the community, and various schools meeting each other and performing,” said Nicole Bailey, the principal at The Learning Tree.
After the event was over, Nimmo and Davis didn’t hesitate to share how much they enjoyed taking part.
“I love that holiday cheer. It’s a very important time for us, just giving back to the community,” said Nimmo, who was in his third year participating in the event. “It’s very fun for us. I’d like to do this for 15, 20 years. Hopefully, I can beat [John] Franco, who was doing it the longest.”
Said Davis, “I didn’t know I was dressing up for an elf. It was great for the kids to get presents and celebrate the holiday. I think Brandon has been a good Santa.” (B Ladson - MLB.com - Dec 4, 2019)
2020 Season: 55 Games, 186 At Bats, .280 Batting Average, 52 Hits, 8 Doubles, 3 Triples, 8 Home Runs, 18 RBIs, 33 Runs Scored, 1 Stolen Base, .888 OPS, 1.6 WAR
The Mets began 2020 with Brandon their starting center fielder. The plan was for Nimmo to platoon with Jake Marisnick, but an early injury to Marisnick gave Nimmo the job by himself essentially. Nimmo took advantage, staying healthy to produce a fine overall season.
Offense wasn’t an issue for Nimmo, who swung a good bat throughout the season and had a strong finishing kick, batting .338 with three home runs, eight RBI’s and a .930 OPS in September. Defense was a bit more of an adventure for Nimmo, who gave a good effort but simply was being played out of position due to the Mets’ need to try to fit as many of their best bats in the lineup as possible. (Mike Phillips - November 19, 2020)
June 2011: The Mets chose Brandon in the first round, out of East High School in Cheyenne, Wyoming. He signed for a bonus of $2.1 million with scout Jim Reeves.
- Jan 10, 2020: Nimmo and the Mets avoided arbitration by agreeing to a $2.2 million deal.