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.
Wyoming does not have high school baseball and has produced just two draft picks the past decade. Nimmo became the state's highest pick and only first round choice 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."
- Brandon's older brother, Bryce, had a successful four-year career at the University of Nebraska, hitting .266 with six home runs, 80 RBIs and 42 stolen bases in 208 games for the Cornhuskers from 2005-08.
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 late in the 2012 season. "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, the Baseball America Prospect Handbook rated Nimmo as the 3rd-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)
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. He planned to borrow a glove for that day's game. (DiComo - MLB.com)
Dec 23, 2016: Nimmo made his big league debut in Atlanta in June 2016, and he should again play a role in the outfield in 2017. Here's a holiday-themed Q&A with the gregarious rookie, who shares how he spends his Christmas in and around snowy Wyoming:
MLB.com: What was a typical Christmas like for you growing up? Brandon: We would always go to a town called La Junta, Colo., on Christmas Eve 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 tightknit 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 all of a sudden we had a big foosball table all wrapped up. So that was pretty cool.
MLB.com: Favorite Christmas carol? Nimmo: I don't know if it's a carol, but I really love "Joy to the World."
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)
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.
His infectious personality is evident by his wide smile.
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)
- Dec 21, 2018: It's difficult to imagine anyone enjoying the holiday season more than Brandon Nimmo, the Mets' breakout outfielder. Playing the role of Santa Claus at the Mets' holiday party for the second straight year, Nimmo said he'd like to make that role a permanent thing. But donning the suit, beard and belly isn't the only part of Christmas that Nimmo loves. He recently sat down with MLB.com to reflect on what makes the holiday special for him.
MLB.com: What was a typical Christmas like for you growing up in Wyoming?
Brandon 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. I was so excited. Christmas was always my favorite time of year when I was growing up. It was giving, it was presents, it was time with family. As I got a little bit 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: How did the day usually unfold?
Nimmo: We'd go to a Christmas Eve service and then we'd come back and watch "A Christmas Story," since it's normally playing for 24 hours. It's just an awesome movie. We'd watch the cartoon "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" and then we'd watch "A Christmas Story" and drink hot cocoa and apple cider, and then [on Christmas morning, we] opened up the presents. And then we'd all just sit around and enjoy the family time for the rest of the day.
MLB.com: What was the best gift you ever received?
Nimmo: We got a foosball table one year as a family, from Santa. That one got its use, no doubt. My dad and I would play, and my brother and sister. That one was pretty good.
MLB.com: What sorts of foods did you look forward to?
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. There were always plenty of sweets around Christmastime.
MLB.com: How much did you take advantage of the snow?
Nimmo: Recently, we've been going to this place called Happy Jack. It used to be a ski resort, but it's since been abandoned. So now people just go up there with inner tubes and sleds, and we'll just ride down. There's a few that are nice little hills. We've done that the past five years or so, going down the bunny slope. You can get going pretty good on those inner tubes.
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 our time here and the holidays here. (A DiComo - MLB.com - Dec 21, 2018)
- Mar 1, 2019: It turns out that Brandon Nimmo didn't give himself food poisoning after all. Nimmo was scratched from the team's Spring Training game with one of the most delightfully bizarre Spring Training ailments in recent memory: While trying to prepare himself a nice homemade dinner, he'd eaten some undercooked poultry and given himself food poisoning. ... or so we thought. As it turns out, though, Nimmo's stomach bug didn't have anything to do with poultry -- according to his wife, Chelsea, he just had a virus:
Far be it from us to pick a fight with modern medicine, but we're still going to consider "Brandon Nimmo missed a game because he accidentally ate some raw chicken in his never-ending quest for self-improvement" to be Spring Training canon.
|Birth City:||Cheyenne, WY|
|Draft:||Mets #1 - 2011 - Out of high school (WY)|
Nimmo has a nice, lean frame and a smooth, effortless, compact lefthanded stroke. He is a pure hitter with a picturesque swing and he has good raw power from very good bat speed. His swing doesn't have natural loft or pull, and the Mets are not interested in changing him, letting him develop naturally. His swing does not have any wasted movement.
Brandon looks to be a top-of-the-order hitter, though one who could grow into a middle-of-the-lineup role if he enhances his power, which is only to the pull side. But he's best using the entire field, his lefty stroke geared for line shots more than lofty jacks.
“Getting a little bit more juice in the bat, a little bit more power, also helps (on pitches) you maybe get jammed on a little bit," Nimmo said in the spring of 2015. "You have enough strength to push them over the infield now and get a little base hit out of it. And then the balls you don’t quite catch perfect you maybe turn into doubles instead of flyouts.”
Nimmo grades 55 for his above-average hit tool, and he gets a 50 for his power.
On-base ability -- that is what Nimmo provides for a team. He excels at working counts and lining the ball to left field if pitchers work him away.
Brandon has the ability to center the ball on the barrel of his bat with impressive frequency.
He will hit for average with his all-fields approach, frequency of hard contact and willingness to attack first-pitch fastballs.
Nimmo has a good eye at the plate, impressive plate discipline, a real good feel for the strike zone, and should be an above-average hitter.
Now, all of that is true. But he still struck out over 25 percent of the time in 2013 and 23 percent of the time in 2014. He did drop it a bit more to 20 percent in 2015, over three levels in the minors.
- As he gets stronger, he could add loft to his swing to turn some doubles into home runs.
Nimmo sees a lot of pitches, so he could fit as a leadoff hitter. He has an impressive ability to work counts.
Brandon has the ability to attack pitchers who try to take advantage of that by sneaking in a first-pitch fastball. He has the power to handle those, and in the spring of 2015, he has added 20 pounds of strength since signing. He has the power to punish those mistakes, rather than just serving them to the gaps. Scouts still are projecting to get Nimmo to above-average power.
Nimmo has made significant strides in 2013 and 2014, by adding strength. He now can sting the ball when he works himself into hitter’s counts, and he has the knowledge of the strike zone to get into those counts. He may not ever have enough power to fit as a profile corner outfielder—he hit 10 home runs and collected 51 RBIs between two levels in 2014—but he’s shown scouts that he should be able to stick in center field, where his on-base skills and gap power both would play.
Brandon built a career .389 on-base percentage in the minors (as of April 2017). And in 2016 he established career-best marks for strikeout rate (16.4 percent), home runs (11) and isolated slugging percentage (.189). That year, he also led the PCL in on-base percentage.
But overall, Nimmo has the best strike-zone judgement in the Mets' organization (April 2017). He works deep counts, takes walks and hits the ball where it’s pitched, making him an above-average hitter with average power. With a muscular 6-foot-3 frame, Nimmo shows plus raw power in batting practice and probably could hit more home runs if he hunted early-count fastballs.
- As of the start of the 2019 season, Brandon's career Major League stats were: .264 batting average, 23 home runs, with 74 RBI in 683 at-bats.
- Brandon can play all three outfield positions. And his long strides enable him to cover enough ground in center field, where he's an average defender with a decent arm (45 or 50 grade).
Nimmo's center-field defense was raw early in his pro career, as he tended to break back on balls before coming in.
But by the spring of 2015, Brandon was getting good jumps in center and had improved his first-step quickness. Brandon takes his pre-game shagging routine seriously, which scouts notice.
He has fringy arm strength -- enough to see at least some time in right field, and has added greater accuracy with more coaching. His bat likely would fit better in center field if he can handle the defensive assignment.
And we think he can, with his plus instincts and reliability. He really impresses with his grace and athleticism in center field. His range is only average, as is his arm, but he is fun to watch.
- He throws well enough (a 50 arm) and can probably handle right field -- if he develops his long-ball ability at the plate. And he tracks the ball well in center, grading out at 50 for his overall defense, average for the Majors.
Brandon runs a 6.55-second 60-yard dash. He is an above-average runner. But he lacks the initial burst that would make him a real weapon for stealing bases. So he is average on the bases, for a 50 grade.
Nimmo runs the bases intelligently. And he steals an occasional base.
- Brandon has maintained his speed even as he has bulked up.
Fall 2009: In his junior season of high school football, Brandon tore his anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. So Brandon spent most of the summer of 2010 playing with a brace on his knee.
August 5, 2012: Brandon was on the D.L. after being hit in the shoulder by a pitch from Auburn's Brett Mooneyham.
March 2013: A purple tinge embedded near the base of the fingernail on Nimmo’s left thumb provided evidence of his run-in with a pitching machine.
“It went off the label,” Nimmo said of the incident that took place during a bunting drill, “and it just hit the barrel of the bat and came straight back and took my thumbnail straight back.”
Nimmo said the Mets medical staff cutoff his batting glove and bent the nail back into place. He missed a few days waiting for the finger to heal.
Although an MRI performed in Savannah did not detect it, Nimmo actually had a dislocated joint and partial tear of a couple of ligaments in his left hand.
“So I played the rest of the season with it,” Nimmo said. “I let the people know afterward it still wasn’t all the way there. I went to New York, and that’s when we found out everything that happened. Then we went to Cleveland, too, and saw a pretty good hand doctor there, Dr. Thomas Graham. He said, ‘It isn’t going to change things. You don’t need surgery. They’ve already repaired themselves. You’re just going to have to get it stronger.’"
“We felt like nothing was really wrong there,” Nimmo said. “The one thing I noticed was I never fouled so many balls straight back. I didn’t quite have my top hand on top of (the bat). It happens. You’ve got to learn how to play with injuries sometimes.
March 2015: Nimmo was slowed for most of spring training with a left thumb injury which came about when he was jammed by a pitch.
May 17, 2015: Brandon was on the D.L. with a left knee/ACL strain.
January 27, 2016: Nimmo had a partially torn tendon in his left foot. He was fitted with a walking boot.
April 1, 2017: Nimmo began the season on the 10-day DL with a Grade 1 hamstring strain.
July 8-28, 2017: Nimmo was on the DL with a partially collapsed lung.
August 16-28, 2018 : The Mets announced Brandon Nimmo is headed to the 10-day disabled list with a bruised left index finger.
May 21-Sept. 1, 2019: The Mets’ placed Nimmo on the injured list due to a stiff neck. Nimmo learned that he has a bulging cervical disc pushing on a nerve in his neck, and that he is suffering from the effects of whiplash. He received a medical steroid injection to reduce the inflammation in his neck.
June 18, 2019: The Mets are shutting Nimmo down from all baseball activities for 30 days after which point doctors will reevaluate him. Nimmo received that recommendation from Dr. Robert Watkins, a Los Angeles-based spinal expert. Watkins confirmed the diagnosis of a bulging disc in Nimmo’s neck, likely the result of a collision with the SunTrust Park center-field fence on April 14.