The Mets have selected 18-year-old Wyoming high school outfielder Brandon Nimmo with the 13th overall pick in the draft. He has committed to the University of Arkansas.
The 6-foot-2, 185-pound, lefty-hitting outfielder is the highest pick ever from the state. Previously, it had been a sixth-round selection by the Phillies in 1966, Michael Beaver.
There is no high school baseball in Wyoming. Montana and South Dakota are the only other states without the sport.
In fact, less than a year ago, Nimmo was not being recruited beyond universities in his immediate area, including Nebraska. "Ever since I was a little kid, I've dreamed of being in the MLB," Nimmo told USA Today in April. "But, reality-wise, I was thinking college, that I could make this something that could help pay for college."
So how did Nimmo get on MLB teams' radars? The USA Today piece explains that his American League Post coach, Tagg Lain, was picked to be a coach at USA Baseball's Tournament of Stars in North Carolina last June. He lobbied the organizers to include Nimmo. Wrote USA Today:
Nimmo's performance earned him a roster spot at the prestigious Under Armour All-American game, at Wrigley Field in mid-August. There, he went 2-for-4 with a triple, two RBI and two runs scored and was named MVP for the winning American team. "That's when I became aware of him," [Diamondbacks scout Rodney] Davis says. "That's when a lot of people became aware of him. Everyone's sure aware of him now."
As for Nimmo's athletic skills, USA Today adds:
He played football and ran indoor track for Cheyenne East. His football career ended when he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee playing receiver in September 2009. The injury kept him from running indoor track last season but he came back this season to win the 400-meter state title in 51.45 seconds. Some people, like in the warmer climates, will play baseball all year round," says Nimmo, who batted .448 with 84 RBI and 15 home runs and converted 34 of 34 stolen-base attempts in 70 games for Post 6 last season. "I never got burned out on baseball. I was always foaming at the mouth to get back out there."
Here's Keith Law's analysis:
Nimmo's high school in Cheyenne, Wyo., doesn't have a baseball team, so he spent the spring playing with his American Legion club after opening eyes all last summer on the showcase circuit. He has strong hands and good hand-eye coordination, with a frame that looks built for some future power if he can get a little more rotational. He has the arm to play right field and has shown good speed in the past, although he's been bothered this spring by tendinitis in his right knee, which is the same knee he had ACL surgery on in 2009. The biggest problem for scouts, however, is the fact that Nimmo won't see high-quality pitching this spring. His swing looks good, but evaluating his plate discipline or ability to catch up to better velocity will be tough.
Nimmo's brother Bryce, who is nearly eight years older, played center field at the University of Nebraska and was teammates with Joba Chamberlain on their 2005 College World Series team.