NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — Brandon Nimmo had some anxious moments before he finally signed his first pro contract, more than he felt on draft night when the Mets surprisingly nabbed him in the first round.
As a deadline to sign approached Monday night, the young outfielder from Wyoming still hadn’t come to terms with the Mets. With only a few minutes to spare, a deal was done and Nimmo took the biggest step yet in his quest to become a major leaguer.
“We were all pretty confident that this would happen, that we would get it done,” the 18-year-old outfielder said Tuesday during a conference call, “but you can’t help but have doubt that things will get done when there is 15 minutes and nothing has come through.
“It’s my dream to play baseball for a living. This is what I’ve dreamed about ever since I was kid.”
Nimmo, the No. 13 pick in the June amateur draft, inked a minor league deal on Monday night that included a $2.1 million signing bonus.
He may have passed on college for the Mets, but Nimmo has been schooling himself on his new organization.
“I know the general stuff, about the trades and how the team is doing,” he said. “It’s been more of my main focus of the summer, getting to know the team better.”
Although he hasn’t been able to see many games, since he doesn’t have the baseball television package in Wyoming, Nimmo has kept close tabs by reading and seeing highlights.
He also has talked to Mets third baseman David Wright, a player Nimmo only knew from the front of a video game cover before now.
“He is the kind of a guy I look up to,” Nimmo said. “I have a great appreciation for David Wright.”
“When I saw (Wright), it was after a game and he was going to get a workout in before they left,” he added. “He just kind of shows by example how hard you need to work to make it.”
Instead of putting the pros on hold and enrolling in college, Nimmo quickly hopped a flight to Port St. Lucie, Fla. He could be playing games for the Mets’ Gulf Coast League team by the end of the week.
“That is life-changing money and you can’t pass that up,” Nimmo said. “I have always told people that my ultimate dream and ultimate goal is to play in the MLB.”
Nimmo, of Cheyenne East High, played American Legion ball because Wyoming doesn’t have high school ball. He hit .551 with 14 homers, 99 RBIs and 33 stolen bases this year and helped Post 6 win its third straight state title.
Despite his young age, Nimmo appears to be quite grounded. He is confident in his ability to succeed, while also acknowledging that slumps will surely come. No worries. Nimmo is sure he can handle those, too.
And as for his big signing bonus? Well, no big purchases are in the immediate future. Nimmo said 10 percent will be given to his church and the rest will go into the bank.
“I am not going to even act like I have that money,” Nimmo said. “I am not planning on buying anything. Honestly.”
Paul DePodesta, the Mets’ vice president of player development and scouting, said the team signed 19 of its first 20 picks and paid a handful of them over the slotted salary — including some chosen in later rounds.
“We are very excited about what we were able to accomplish over the last eight months or so,” DePodesta said of New York’s front office, headed by general manager Sandy Alderson. “It’s nice now to be able to stand here today and talk about what we did and not just what we wanted to do.
“We were aggressive early, aggressive in the middle, and aggressive later in the draft.”
Investing heavily in the developmental aspect of the organization is a change for the Mets. DePodesta said the Wilpon family, which owns the team, is completely on board and didn’t need to be convinced.
DePodesta said chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon told him, “I want to sign them all.”
“I don’t know that it’s a shift away from the focus on the major league club, but there is a general interest in building from within as well as the major league club,” DePodesta said. “We’re absolutely determined to build the foundation of this organization and be a true feeder for the major league team. It’s going to take time to do and years to build. This year was a good first step.”
Mets fans: what do you think of the Wyoming wonder? Let us know in the comments below…
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