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)