I've never seen Brandon Nimmo play, but I already like one thing about the Mets' 13th pick in the draft: He's a talker. Here's a transcript of the nearly 12-minute conversation Nimmo had with reporters late Monday night. Among the subjects he touches on: playing baseball in Wyoming, dealing with 97-mph fastballs and what it feels like to be picked 13th in the draft. Buckle up.
Q: Was it much of an obstacle growing up in Wyoming in terms of developing a baseball career or are people making too much of that?
BN: I haven’t known any different. Sometimes it feels like people are making too much of it. I know there are disadvantages to playing in Wyoming, I do not get to play year-round. I barely get to play for six months out of the year, and so that is a disadvantage I know of. But the advantage that I got out of most kids that are in these cold weather states is that my dad fortunately built a barn for me to work in every day and that’s how I’ve tried to stay polished and in the mix with the guys from the warmer states. Just by going out and working in the barn every day and just trying to make the swing good. The arm strength is a little bit off. You can’t go out and long toss when it’s 30 below zero. That tough to keep your arm going. I haven’t known any different, so I don’t know if they’re making it out more than it should be, I just know that this is the path that I took, this is the path that I was given, and tried to make the most of it.
Q: When did you realize you could be a first-round pick?
BN: It’s hard to conceive (laughs) when you’re going through the full process because you’re told right from the beginning to really not have any expectations going into the draft – just play it by ear. I guess when I first started thinking that this could be possible is this spring when I went down to Arizona, and did that kind of spring training for our team. It helped out the scouts because they didn’t have to come in and be in freezing weather. They got to be in 90 degree weather and at spring training facility. About 90 scouts were there on one of the days, and we were just practicing and playing each other, and I thought 'Wow, this is a little serious' (laughs). Then from there, the scouts were showing up, and the Mets were always interested. I always had someone from the Mets there, even the last guys to see me were the Mets, just this past weekend. They just left yesterday. I started to believe it was possible. You can’t help but look at some of these mock drafts that go around, and I saw one where it had Mets taking me at 13, and the thing by it said the Mets kind of liked me overall as player and a person, and that could possibly happen. That one kind of blew me away. I was like, 'Oh man' I thought this could really happen. I really could get picked in the first round. But you got to take it with a grain of salt because it’s just opinions, and the only opinions that matter are the team’s opinions, and you don’t know much about that until today.
Q: Do you have a lot of confidence that you can handle more advanced pitching?
BN: At the tournaments that I went to - I'm not going to lie to you, at the Tournament of Stars, that was basically the first time that I had seen 90 consistently. You go up there and take it just like a game. That’s exactly what it is, and I’m going to try to do my best at it. I did that, and it’s didn’t’ overwhelm me. I faced great pitchers – All-Americans in the Under Armour game (at Wrigley Field) and I never felt overwhelmed by it. I always felt like my hands were quick enough. I have a picture here at home that my dad printed up of actually me breaking a bat, but it’s on a 97 mph fastball, it’s off the end (of the bat) on an inside pitch. It reassures myself that my hands are quick enough to get to the inside pitch on a 97 mph fastball, and I’m not even as strong as I’m going to be. I have a lot of confidence in myself. I faced 90 mph before. I faced it this spring a little bit, and I never feel overwhelmed. It’s baseball. It’s a game. The scouts have come to see me – they know what they’re looking for. And I’m sure that they’ve been doing this for a while now, I have all the confidence in the world in myself, and really that’s half the game of baseball, in having confidence in yourself, knowing what you can do.
Q: Is it a point of pride for you being the standard bearer for Wyoming and being the biggest prospect in state history?
BN: I guess I do take some pride in that I’m representing Wyoming. That I’m showing that great things can come out of Wyoming. I hope it opens up doors for people from Wyoming. I do take a little pride in it. But like I said, I haven’t known anything different. My friends and my teammates, they keep me real under control. There’s real humbling moments. When you’re looking at the mock draft, it’s almost surreal. It’s surreal when you look at it and you say, im from Wyoming and all these people are saying you can’t do this, you can’t do that, you haven’t faced good pitching. It’s weird to think about it. This isn’t supposed to happen. I’m not supposed to be picked here. I’m not supposed to do this, do that. So it gives you a little bit of something to feed of. Well, no one expects anything from me, so I’m just going to go and do my best, and try and prove that I’ve got something to offer.
Q: Having already committed to Arkansas, how confident are you that the business side of this will get done?
BN: I haven't really thought about the business side of it much so far. Im just real excited that I got picked No. 13 overall by the Mets and really excited to be a Met. I got a call from David Wright just before this congratulating me, and that’s almost a dream come true right in itself. So right now this is a dream come true for me -- getting drafted, getting picked in the first round by the Mets. I’m real real excited about this right now, Arkansas is a great school, and there’s a reason I chose it. But I’m going to let the business end take care of itself, and I don’t have any more information on the business end for you right now.