LAS VEGAS - The fascination with Brandon Nimmo began soon after the Mets drafted him 13th overall in 2011. He was the first pick of the Sandy Alderson era, a high school kid from Cheyenne, Wyoming, a place that is anything but a hotbed of future major-league talent.
After the draft, New York media members trekked to Nimmo's hometown, located in the southeastern corner of the country's least populated state. They told stories of a kid who overcame long odds after growing up in a state without high school-sanctioned baseball, a ballplayer who made his bones playing American Legion ball and honed his skills inside a barn-like structure located on his parents' property.
After the initial media flurry, Nimmo embarked on his pro career and steadily rose through the ranks.
Nimmo, a 22-year-old centerfielder who has played all three outfield positions in the minor leagues, was promoted to the Triple-A Las Vegas 51s on July 28 after posting a .279/.354/.368 slash line in 68 games for Double-A Binghamton.
"It's all very new and exciting and a hectic time, but it's definitely one you want to be going through," Nimmo said before Tuesday's game against the Tacoma Rainiers.
Nimmo's unconventional upbringing may have been his greatest asset. He played football in the fall, ran indoor track during the winter and waited anxiously for the weather to warm up in the spring. He and his American Legion teammates made do by practicing in gymnasiums and converted warehouses equipped with batting cages.
Though practicing on concrete floors is not ideal, Nimmo played about 80 games every summer.
"The advantages were I didn't get burned out playing baseball," said Nimmo, who was ranked No. 48 on Baseball America's Midseason Top 50 Prospects list. "I think that not being burned out on baseball has allowed me to really have no regrets about the business that I go and do each and every day, and I try to leave it all out on the field."
Nimmo became acquainted with New York while playing for the Brooklyn Cyclones in 2012. It was there that he began to understand the lofty expectations put upon a first-round pick.
"It didn't matter if you were an 18-year-old kid or not," Nimmo said. "You've been paid to play the game well, and that's what was expected of you. If you weren't, then [the fans] were going to let you know about it."
Although reporters no longer are flocking to Cheyenne, Nimmo's status as a top prospect has not diminished.
There have been hiccups along the way, including a sprained ACL sufferedearlier this season when he was with Binghamton. It sidelined him for five weeks.
Soon after his Las Vegas call-up, his parents, sister, girlfriend and brother-in-law flew in to celebrate the promotion. They spent a day wandering the Las Vegas Strip and stopped to eat at Shake Shack, which Nimmo gave a rave review.
On Tuesday, Nimmo batted seventh, played rightfield and went 2-for-4, including a fourth-inning single off former Yankee Chien-Ming Wang. Playing centerfield and batting ninth, he went 3-for-4 with a home run in Wednesday's 9-3 win over Salt Lake.
Nimmo tweaked his swing during the offseason with the help of Mets hitting coach Kevin Long and talked about trying to be more consistent in every facet of the game. The one-time media curiosity is thrilled to be in Las Vegas, one step away from a childhood dream come true.
"It's been a few years in pro ball," Nimmo said, "and things are going pretty well."