Brandon Nimmo and Greg Bird are two of the top performers this October in the Arizona Fall League, and their ascent could perhaps one day help both New York clubs make it back to postseason play in future Octobers.
Nimmo, who finished the 2014 regular season with the Mets' Double-A affiliate, has a hit in each of his four AFL games and is tied for the league lead with three doubles. He's 6-for-18 (.333) with two runs scored, two RBIs and a stolen base.
The one oddity so far: Nimmo hasn't drawn a walk. Known for his elite plate discipline, Nimmo drew 86 walks while striking out 105 times in 127 games for Single-A Advanced St. Lucie and Double-A Binghamton in 2014. He had a .397 on-base percentage in 2014 and owns a career .394 OBP in four minor league seasons.
But while Nimmo's eye remained excellent following his June promotion to Binghamton (36 walks, 54 strikeouts in 65 games), he struggled with a .238 batting average. His AFL performance, coming against some of the minors' top talent, is a positive sign heading forward.
Bird, a Yankees farmhand who played with Single-A Advanced Tampa and Double-A Trenton in 2014, leads the Arizona Fall League with eight hits and 14 total bases and is tied for the lead in doubles (three) and runs scored (six). He has a hit in each of his five AFL games and on the season is 8-for-21 (.381) with a home run and five RBIs.
The lefthanded-hitting Bird slugged his lone home run off a lefty pitcher. He's 3-for-6 with two doubles when batting with runners in scoring position.
The Yankees and Mets sent 15 players to the AFL, all as members of the Scottsdale Scorpions (3-2). Every MLB club sends several of its top minor leaguers to the AFL each season.
NOTES: Yankees catcher Kyle Higashioka played in his first AFL game Oct. 11, going 3-for-5 with a home run, two RBIs, two runs and a stolen base . . . Mets shortstop Matt Reynolds started 1-for-9 in the AFL but was 3-for-5 with a double and a home run on Oct. 11 . . . Powerful Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge saw his first action Oct. 10, going 1-for-4 with a double, a run scored and two RBIs.