JUPITER, Fla. — Coming off a season in which he was sidelined for months by a bulging disk in his neck that not only cost him time on the injured list, but also production at the plate throughout the first half, Brandon Nimmo is looking to get back to the form he showed in 2018.
“The biggest thing is consistency,” Nimmo said Monday after the Mets and Marlins tied, 1-1, at Roger Dean Stadium. “I want to try to be more consistent throughout the season with my approach with both my swings and my defense.”
He’s off to a promising start in 2020, even with the brief heart scare that forced him to undergo a series of cardiological exams that showed an irregular heartbeat.
Nimmo has already put that part of his spring out of his mind.
“I just missed six at-bats,” Nimmo said. “That’s all that happened with the heart issue. It was blown way out of proportion. But I expected that. The important thing is I feel good and I know I’m healthy.”
New Mets manager, Luis Rojas, had Nimmo hitting second in the lineup against Miami on Monday, behind Jeff McNeil. And though the two combined to go 0-for-6, Rojas believes the duo provides a good dynamic to set up the rest of the lineup.
“Those are guys featured to hit at the top of the lineup,” Rojas said of McNeil and Nimmo. “They have the ability to get on base, do different things and create some speed for guys who hit in the middle [of the order]. Those two guys profile to hit at the top of the lineup.”
If McNeil can build on the success he had during his breakout season a year ago and Nimmo approaches the production he’s shown when he’s healthy, it would go a long way toward giving the Mets the lineup depth Rojas is counting on in his first year at the helm.
“McNeil didn’t have his usual day, having an 0-for-3,” Rojas said. “They both have the ability to get on base and hit the ball really well. They take quality at-bats. That’s what we’re looking for.”
Nimmo struggled for much of the first half of last season after feeling discomfort in his neck in April and then being shut down in May.
In his first 43 games last season, Nimmo had an OPS of just .667.
He didn’t play from May 21 until his return when rosters expanded on Sept. 1.
Finally healthy, Nimmo finished with a .995 OPS in his final 26 games.
“I know there’s gonna be peaks and valleys during the season, so I try to focus on the process,” Nimmo said. “If I feel good, I believe I can put together an entire year, but I have to do it.”
And whether that comes at the top of the lineup or somewhere else, Nimmo said he’ll be fine with it.
“I really don’t know where I’m gonna hit,” Nimmo said. “I can lead off and I’ve hit in the two-hole here early in the spring. I can also hit in the back of the order if that’s what they want. It doesn’t really matter to me.”
He’s aware Rojas has choices to make in that department, as the rookie manager also pointed to Amed Rosario as a leadoff possibility.
“He has a few different options at the top of the lineup and it might depend on the matchup,” Nimmo said. “The manager has to take a lot of things into account. I do know that wherever I am in the lineup, I’m going to have the same approach: I want to get on base and have controlled aggression.”
The Mets and Rojas will see where that takes them.