Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Nick Plummer's Persistence Paying Off As He Becomes Mets New Sensation


Nick Plummer being greeted after his three-run home run on Monday night. Photo by Jason Schott.

Mets fans love their stars like Pete Alonso and Jacob DeGrom, but New Yorkers love a story of persistence, and that certainly is the word to describe new Citi Field sensation Nick Plummer.

On Saturday, when the Mets called up outfielder Plummer, and outfielder, to take the roster spot of Travis Jankowski, who was placed on the 10-day injured list with a left 4th metacarpal fracture, only the most dedicated fan would know who he was.

By 10:45 Sunday night, when Plummer hit a rocket into the second deck along the right-field line to tie it up against the Philadelphia Phillies, everyone knew who he was in an instant. The Mets went on to win that game, 5-4, and complete the sweep of their main rivals. 

On Monday, Plummer put together quite an encore when he had an RBI double in the second inning, and then a three-run homer in the fourth inning, a big reason why the Mets went on to blow out another one of their rivals, the Washington Nationals, 13-5.

That means he has two home runs and five RBI in the first two games he has started, after he came on as a defensive replacement in his first three appearances (April 15 and 17 against Arizona and Saturday night against the Phillies).

This is a perfect example of the Mets, and their new leadership led by General Manager Billy Eppler and Manager Buck Showalter, identifying a player another organization could not get to this level.

Plummer, 25 years old (he'll be 26 on July 31), is a Royal Oak, Michigan native, who was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the first round of the MLB Draft in 2015. He signed a letter of intent with the University of Kentucky before he elected to go pro after a stellar high school career. In his senior season at Brothers Rice (MI) High School, he hit .520 with 68 runs, 32 stolen bases, and 22 doubles in 41 games.

In 2015, with the Gulf Coast League Cardinals, he led the league in runs (45) and walks (39) and was tied for second in triples with 5. He had a .379 on-base percentage (OBP), to go along with a .228 average, one home run and 28 RBI. He was rated as the No. 8 prospect and "Best Hitter for Average" in the Cardinals organization by Baseball America.

Plummer's path through the minors was then hampered when he missed the entire 2016 season with a right wrist injury. He then spent the next two seasons at Peoria, a Single-A affiliate of the Cards. In 2017, he ranked fifth among Cardinals minor leaguers with 53 walks, but he hit just .198 with four home runs and 17 RBI in 92 games. The 2018 season was a tad better, as he hit .205 with eight home runs and 30 RBI in 104 games, and he ranked fifth in the Midwest League and led all Cardinals minor leaguers with 63 walks.

2019 was a tough year for Plummer, at another single-A affiliate, Palm Beach, where he hit just .176, with five home runs and 29 RBI, in 96 games, and notched just 47 walks, bringing his OBP down to .312, 67 points lower than his high of .379 in 2015.

Plummer then faced yet another setback, as the pandemic canceled the 2020 minor league season, but he came back to put up tremendous numbers in the 2021 campaign.

With Double-A Springfield, Plummer played in 90 games, and hit .283, an incredible 107 points higher than he hit in 2019, with 13 home runs and 46 RBI, with 53 walks to give him a new career-high on-base percentage of .489, eclipsing that 2015 number by 110 points. Hig slugging percentage was .404, eclipsing his prior high, also in 2015, of .344 by 60 points. his .893 OPS (on-base plus slugging) was fourth-best in Double-A Central, and he was the Offensive Player of the Week in the league for the week ending July 11.

Plummer was then promoted to Triple-A Memphis, where he played in 27 games, and hit .267 (20-75) with two home runs and eight RBI, and 20 walks, to hive him an OBP of .440 and a slugging of .455.


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