Mets take OF from Wyoming with 13th pick in draft
It was the day before Mother’s Day and New York Mets executive
Paul DePodesta had a prospect to go see.
But this was no easy drive up the Pacific Coast Highway.
DePodesta had quite a haul in front of him – a flight from San
Diego to Denver, then a long drive to Wyoming to watch Brandon
Nimmo play a weekend doubleheader.
”’This one better be worth it,”’ his wife told him.
”Fortunately, it was,” DePodesta said.
The cash-strapped Mets went a long way to find their first-round
draft pick, a center fielder from Cheyenne, Wyo., who didn’t even
have a chance to play high school baseball.
Nimmo was selected No. 13 overall Monday night, capping an
uncommon rise for an out-of-nowhere prospect who could one day go
from country bumpkin to city slicker.
Wyoming does not have high school baseball and the state has
produced just two draft picks in the past decade, according to
Baseball America. The 18-year-old Nimmo plays American Legion ball
and was selected MVP at a showcase game at Wrigley Field last
Still, finding Nimmo was no easy task. He worked out for major
league teams in Arizona this spring and became the first player
from Wyoming to be chosen in the first round.
The left-handed hitter said he idolized Ken Griffey Jr. growing
up. He is considered a fast runner with a good eye and plenty of
potential at the plate despite a unique schedule and limited
chances to play.
MLB Network said Nimmo practiced in a barn behind his house that
contains a batting cage and pitching machine.
The 6-foot-2, 185-pound outfielder was batting .569 with two
homers and 34 RBIs in 22 American Legion games for Post 6 through
Sunday. He also had four triples, 13 doubles and 14 stolen bases.
The team’s schedule runs through the American Legion World Series,
which is Aug. 12-16 in Shelby, NC.
The Mets said Baseball America ranked Nimmo as the second-best
high school athlete in the draft, and the second-best pure high
Still, the pick is certainly a gamble by the Mets and their new
front-office regime, led by DePodesta, general manager Sandy
Alderson and amateur scouting director Chad MacDonald.
”I think we were ideally looking for a position player,” said
DePodesta, in his first year as New York’s vice president of player
development and amateur scouting. ”This draft is definitely deep
in college pitching, but there were only a few impact bats and if
we were going to get one of them we were going to take him
MacDonald said Nimmo brings the same risks as any high school
hitter who needs to prove he can hit better pitching at the
professional level. But DePodesta said Nimmo has faced good
competition in Wyoming that would be comparable to high schools in
South Carolina or other fertile areas.
”We’ve actually seen a lot of this player,” DePodesta said on
a conference call. ”They play some pretty good baseball up
MacDonald said Nimmo has an athletic body and is a ”speed-hit
combo” player with a ”really good swing” who can stay in center
field as a pro.
”A middle-of-the-field guy who can hit with power. That’s what
we like,” MacDonald said, adding that probably eight to 10 Mets
scouts saw Nimmo play over the course of the year. ”We had guys at
”We do think he has some advanced skills,” MacDonald added.
”We weren’t interested in making the safest pick. We were
interested in making the pick that had the best chance to make the
DePodesta stayed over in Wyoming that one night and then
traveled back home to San Diego on Mother’s Day. Obviously, he was
impressed with what he saw in Nimmo, who attended East High School
Nimmo tore his right ACL playing football as a junior in 2009
and played with a brace on his knee most of the time last summer,
according to Baseball America.
”I think he has an advanced feel for the strike zone,”
DePodesta said. ”We’ll certainly be emotionally invested in this
Next, the Mets need to sign Nimmo – and that might not be so
easy. The club’s owners are facing a $1 billion lawsuit because of
their business with Bernard Madoff, and Fred Wilpon told Sports
Illustrated recently that his team is ”bleeding cash” and could
lose up to $70 million this year.
Nimmo has committed to play college ball at Arkansas, a top
”He’s passionate about playing,” DePodesta said. ”We’ll let
the negotiations play out and we’re confident he’ll be a New York
With the 44th pick, the Mets selected right-hander Michael
Fulmer from Deer Creek High School in Oklahoma.