This time around, we’re going to talk about a future
Stud Muffin Rumble Pony, who has seemed like he’s been in this system forever, but really made some interesting strides offensively and defensively this past season with the St. Lucie Mets in a position the Mets really need.
C Tomas Nido, 6’0″/205, 04/12/1994 (Age: 22), Drafted Round 8, 2012
Nido is an interesting case, a late bloomer, which is hard for fans usually to take seriously unfortunately, but the Mets took his strides seriously enough to give him a spot on their 40-man roster this winter. What warranted such a move was an excellent offensive and defensive campaign, where he hit .320/.357/.459 in 90 games with 23 doubles, two triples and seven homers, while throwing out 42% of would-be base stealers. He won the Florida State League batting title, one of the most elusive league batting titles in the minor leagues. An afterthought prior to the season, he has been requested more in trades as of late. Also, Nido joined Baseball America’s 2017 list at #10, and will join more as the prospect list season continues. Nido also earned BA’s best defensive catcher accolade for 2017, which you will see is a huge deal for the player.
Drafted in 2012 in the 8th round, the Puerto Rican born Nido was known as a catcher with plus power, but the other three tools important to catchers (Contact, Field, Arm). Among them was a longer swing, and some moving parts in it that created issues in him driving the ball consistently. He also had issues with his defense in both blocking the ball effectively, and even more throwing out runners. In his first three seasons as a pro, he threw out 18% of runners, and allowed 16 passed balls in 87 games. Despite these issues, Nido stayed at Catcher, showing leadership skills and solid game calling, as well as an understanding on how to frame pitches well.
But Nido is all business. The catcher is known to work very hard, and as we always hope, his hard work paid off. In 2015, his first full-season year, Nido threw out 38% of the runners he faced, but still allowed seven passed balls in 75 games at catcher. In 2016, he improved further throwing out a huge 42% of base stealers and allowed 9 passed balls in 90 games. The most recent scouting reports have stated he moves well behind the plate, with very soft hands and an above-average arm with a good pop time.
The best development however was with the bat. Nido has always been pushed aggressively, starting his pro career at Kingsport (also, there was no Gulf Coast League team). In Nido’s first four seasons, a span of 218 games, Nido hit .246/.286/.336 with 32 doubles, three triples, and ten home runs, while striking out in 21.3% of his plate appearances, and walking 5.2% of the time. Nido’s best year for power prior to this past year was 2015 in Savannah, notably the minor’s largest canyon of a ballpark, with 14 doubles, 2 triples, and six homers, including two at home (!). But during 2015, he also sold out power, which made his strikeout rate balloon to nearly 26%.
This year though, Nido was a different story, employing more power than before with 23 doubles, two triples, and seven homers. The difference was a shortening of swing, and more trust in his natural strength. The difference made his strikeout rate drop by nearly more than 14% from 26 to 12. In addition, the shorter swing has afforded him some bat speed, going from average to above average, and helps to utilize his all-fields approach much better than before. He often allows the ball to come later into the zone and can take advantage and drive it the other way. Nido often makes hard contact, but hasn’t learned how to completely take advantage of his power. Currently, his present power is around a 45 (12-15 homers annually), but he has up to a 60 in unrefined power (26-34). Often times, players need a little more development, but rare;y reach their raw power ceiling. He could possibly hit high-teens, low-20’s in home runs with more trust and refinements, but i’m more comfortable keeping conservative on his power totals for now. His home run total will likely raise when Nido leaves the pitcher-friendly Florida State League and into the more neutral Eastern League. Nevertheless, that’s power is pretty damn excellent for a catcher with great defensive skills.
- Nido is a late bloomer, who dominated High-A at 22, so skepticism is warranted. This could be a fluke year, as that happens with minor leaguers. Career years happen, and the minor league success is not a harbinger to more. However, the Florida State League is one of the best pitching leagues in the minors, so if Nido could hit in there, that gives me confidence moving forward. Also, often catchers are much harder to develop in general, so it really doesn’t matter what age he is as long as he performs the way he has been.
- He doesn’t walk much, so his on base percentage is hard to abide by. His split between his batting average and OBP was .037 points last year. That’s going to have to improve to take him more seriously as a starter.
- He has not played more than 90 games in a season, so his durability is a question going forward.
- He may never reach that raw power ceiling. Many don’t.
- He’s a prospect. I should just put that in every person’s listed caveats.
Tomas Nido is intriguing, and his consideration and hyping is warranted. He’s developed into an above-average receiver, which is something the Mets are sorely in need of. With his offense making the big push this year, it’s intriguing to watch if he will continue to improve in hitting and power. He definitely has an open window with the Mets to become their catcher of the future, especially with Travis d’Arnaud never being healthy and unreliable defensively, and Kevin Plawecki being just unreliable in general and an afterthought. Between these two setbacks from highly touted catchers, it can give a fan a sour taste in their mouth in terms of confidence for catching prospects.
In general, if Nido continues to trend up as a receiver and hitter, he could become one of the top catching prospects in baseball, and if successful, one of the top all-around catchers in baseball. Currently, catcher is a position of absolute dearth in pro baseball in general, so you should keep a definite eye on this guy going forward, making me comfortable stating he has a high floor with his defensive chops, and a high ceiling with his above-average contact bat, improving power, and defense. At worst, he’s a major league backup with the defense. He will definitely be starting with the Double-A
Stud Muffins Rumble Ponies in 2017 as he has nothing to prove in High-A St. Lucie.
He and former Mets Prospect, current big leaguer Robert Whalen were battery mates on their travel team while in high school. Should Tomas achieve the Majors, It would be sentimental to get Rob back…
Binghamton Rumble Ponies Covered: