Savannah center fielder Brandon Nimmo off to torrid start

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While small sample size can be misleading early in a season, sometimes a player’s stats are worthy of mentioning regardless of the number of games played.

Savannah Sand Gnats center fielder Brandon Nimmo put up impressive numbers through his first 15 games, entering the weekend hitting .450 with a 1.098 OPS (on-base plus slugging). Nimmo has 27 hits and six walks in 70 plate appearances.

A first-round pick by the New York Mets in 2011 out of high school in Wyoming, Nimmo hit just .248 for short-season Brooklyn last year, but he posted a .372 on-base percentage with 46 walks in 321 plate appearances, showing a good approach at the plate.

Scouts have questioned Nimmo’s ability to square enough balls to maintain a high average, but the slugger has done just that through the first weeks of the season.

Nimmo is ranked fourth in the Mets system by Baseball America. He might not produce power numbers in Savannah – Grayson Stadium is the toughest park to hit for power in the South Atlantic League – but making consistent contact and getting on base will be Nimmo’s ticket to moving up.

DIFFERENT PROCESS: Entering the weekend, the Augusta GreenJackets and Delmarva Shorebirds are the first two teams to reach 10 wins in the South Atlantic League. But the two clubs have done it in different ways.

The GreenJackets own the best team ERA in the league at 2.26. Their top three starters – Chris Stratton, Martin Agosta and Joan Gregorio – all have sub-2.00 ERAs.

Meanwhile, the Shorebirds own the highest batting average at .289. Their ability to get on base is due in large part to finding holes and getting hits since their walk totals are near the league average.

Delmarva has four hitters with batting averages over .350: Creede Simpson, Christian Walker, Roderick Bernadina and Wynston Sawyer. But the four had combined for only 20 walks entering the weekend.

DOMINATING RIVERDOG: Despite the GreenJackets owning the best ERA in the league, the Charleston RiverDogs have the top pitcher.

Right-hander Gabriel Encinas has allowed one run through his first 17 innings this season. He has given up seven hits and six walks while striking out 15.

The GreenJackets got a taste of Encinas in Charleston on April 12, managing just one run in six innings while striking out six times.

Encinas was drafted by the New York Yankees in the sixth round in 2010 out of a California high school. He has a strong fastball clocked in the mid-90s while throwing a solid curveball. He has also flashed some promising changeups, according to reports.

Encinas, ranked 30th in the Yankees system by Baseball America, is a 6-foot-3, 21-year-old. Reports indicate he can lose his control at times and struggles with his release point, but if he continues to dominate the league, he should move quickly in the Yankees system.


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