FLUSHING, N.Y. — Count All-Star candidate Brandon Nimmo among the fans of Frank Catalanotto's recent hiring as NYIT head baseball coach.
"I'm really excited that he's going to get that opportunity," said Nimmo, the New York Mets' rising star in the outfield. "We spent time together getting ready for the WBC and then also during the WBC in Mexico. [He's] a great guy and really good to talk to about baseball knowledge. I think he brings a lot to the table."
Catalanotto served as hitting coach for Nimmo and the rest of the Italian squad at the 2017 World Baseball Classic and came away an admirer of the affable Nimmo, too.
Underdog Italy posted a 1-3 record in pool play, including a 10-9 victory in the opener against host Mexico at Estadio de Béisbol Charros de Jalisco, near Guadalajara. Nimmo led off and drove in a run in that victory. Fellow Met Gavin Cecchini also played for the Italian squad, which scored 26 runs in four games and nearly upset Venezuela in a tiebreaker for the right to advance.
Nimmo's success has continued with the Mets. He is hitting .276/.396/.563 this season.
"What a great kid," Catalanotto said about Nimmo. "Right now he's been one of the best hitters on that team. He has so much energy. He comes to the ballpark every single night ready to play. And he's fun to watch. I'm definitely rooting for him."
Nimmo similarly has admiration for Catalanotto, who was hired as NYIT's head baseball coach on June 7.
"He really knew baseball. Obviously he's got the experience part down," Nimmo said. "But he was really good at putting [concepts] into words — kind of a hitter's language. … Different guys are going to speak different languages as far as hitting goes. And I think he's going to be really good at that.
"And then as a person he was just a great guy. That always helps with your relationship with your players."
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