Enthusiasm and energy walked into Citi Field Monday in the form of Brandon Nimmo, a fresh-faced 18-year-old looking to be a part of its future.
The first-round pick, signed for $2.1 million this summer, couldn't help but ponder the coming years as he littered the field with line drives and smacked a pitch off the second deck in rightfield during batting practice before Monday night's Mets-Reds game.
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"The big leagues, it's what you dream about since you're a little kid," said the outfielder from Wyoming, who batted .211 (8-for-38) in 10 games with the Gulf Coast League Mets and the Kingsport Mets. "So to get to walk around, hit BP, hang out with the MLB players, is a little portion of the dream come true.
"The real dream and the ultimate dream is to be here consistently for a long time."
Nimmo's composure was refreshing, a rare trait seen in high school and college-age athletes who find themselves under the media spotlight. His enthusiasm was undeniable, but he knows there's more work to do.
"You would love to be up here as soon as possible, but I do understand the process," said the teenager, who plans to play winter ball at the team's academy in the Dominican Republic starting in mid-October. "Yes, this is my dream and I want to get here as soon as possible, but sometimes guys get rushed here too soon and it's detrimental to their whole career. I want to do this right and be a big guy that can do things when I get here. Really, it just provides motivation getting out there."
Terry Collins said he's anxious to see what the kid can do on the field.
"He wants to play desperately," he said of Nimmo, whom the manager will see in Florida on Saturday. "I've heard all about his skills. I'm glad he's in the fold."
And even though he's years away from possibly making the big leagues, Nimmo defended the Mets as if he were one of Collins' own. When asked about the team's struggles this season, he simply spoke of positives, highlighting the team's resilience despite a 76-84 record.
"I can kind of see the future down where I am. And it's bright," Nimmo said with a smile. "They've been having a .500 season and they're still playing the game hard and getting out there every day, trying to get a win. The rest is up for you to criticize."
The Mets showed some fight Monday night against the Reds, scoring three runs in the third and taking a one-run lead in the fourth on a sacrifice fly by Jose Reyes before losing, 6-5. The shortstop, who entered the game second in the NL batting race behind Ryan Braun, pulled ahead of the Brewers' leftfielder after going 3-for-4 with a double and two RBIs, upping his average to .33396. Braun (.33393), who did not start Monday night against the Pirates, had a pinch-hit double.
Collins said the batting title chase will factor into whether the shortstop plays in Wednesday's season finale. The Mets have never had a batting champion, and though Reyes doesn't want to discuss it, Collins said: "It's certainly something that I think would be great for this organization to have somebody win the batting title. So we'll take a look at it."
Notes & quotes:Jason Bay was prescribed new medication for his sinus infection Monday. "He's still pretty sick," Collins said . . . While in Florida this weekend to see the instructional league, Collins said he will try to see Johan Santana pitch.