The Keepers - #24 - OF - Kirk Nieuwenhuis

24. Kirk Nieuwenhuis

From: http://www.apu.edu/ : - Junior center fielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Baseball America’s 2008 NAIA Preseason Player of the Year, returns after a standout sophomore season to lead the Azusa Pacific offense … Had a breakout summer campaign in which he earned Alaska Baseball League MVP honors … Will be the centerpiece and hit in the middle of the Cougar lineup … Possesses a dangerous power/speed combination … Will make a run at several program career records.

Also from http://www.apu.edu/ : - Nieuwenhuis, Baseball America’s 2008 NAIA Preseason Player of the Year and a 2008 NAIA All-American first team selection, batted .400 (90-for-225) with 20 doubles, 15 home runs, 68 RBIs, and a program single-season record 84 runs for the Cougars as they advanced to the NAIA World Series for the second straight season, just the second time in program history the program had made back-to-back World Series trips. Through 3 seasons at Azusa Pacific, Nieuwenhuis has also set 2 career marks with 12 triples and 190 runs.

The 6-foot-3 centerfielder was named the 2007 MVP of the prestigious Alaska Baseball League, a summer collegiate wood-bat league that regularly showcases future professional baseball talent. Nieuwenhuis batted .333 (52-for-156) in 40 games for the Athletes In Action Fire squad, registering 8 doubles, 4 triples, 4 home runs, and team-highs of 35 runs and 30 RBIs.

From: http://naia.cstv.com/ : - Azusa Pacific (Calif.) University junior centerfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis was selected by the New York Mets with their third-round selection, the 100th overall pick of the 2008 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. Nieuwenhuis was the lone NAIA baseball player selected on Day 1. The second and final day of the draft continues on Friday (June 6) from the Disney Sports Complex. For complete coverage of the draft, click here.

"I really had no idea who was going to pick me, or even if I would go the first day (of the 2-day draft)," said Nieuwenhuis. "I had gotten calls from a lot of different teams, and I didn't guess it would be the third round, but God is good, and it came earlier than I expected. I was ecstatic."

Nieuwenhuis, Baseball America's 2008 NAIA Preseason Player of the Year and a 2008 NAIA All-American first team selection, batted .400 (90-for-225) with 20 doubles, 15 home runs, 68 RBIs, and a program single-season record 84 runs for the Cougars as they advanced to the NAIA World Series for the second straight season, just the second time in program history the program had made back-to-back World Series trips. Through through seasons at Azusa Pacific, Nieuwenhuis has also set two career marks with 12 triples and 190 runs.

In August 2009, Nieuwenhuis made the Baseball America Hot List with: “Sorry Kirk, but we just blew the lid off your stealth campaign in the Florida State League. Only a five-homer showing by Brett Wallace in Triple-A stood in the way of a No. 1 ranking. Batting .259/.346/.441 with 15 homers, 27 doubles, 64 RBIs and 16 steals (in 20 attempts), Nieuwenhuis leads the FSL in home runs, extra-base hits (46) and runs scored (81). And he's just four off the leaders for RBIs and doubles. Don't be fooled by that age; the physical, lefty-swinging Nieuwenhuis celebrated a birthday two weeks ago and actually spent most of the season as a 21-year-old. An '08 third-round pick, he skipped right over low Class A on his way from NAIA Azusa Pacific (Calif.) to the FSL this season. It's hard to argue with the results.”

9-9-9 From http://www.hardballtimes.com/ : - Nieuwenhuis, a centerfielder out of Azusa Pacific University, was having a pretty good year until August started. Then he had an excellent year. Nieu's combination of speed and power was a lethal combination, leading to a .193 ISO and sixteen stolen bases in twenty tries. With a .383 wOBA in St. Lucie, the lefty, who spent most of the year as a 21 year-old, moved up to Binghamton and finished the year strong, hitting .406/.472/.656 in 36 plate appearances.

I wrote on Feb 10:

Kirk Nieuwenhuis – Nieuwenhuis has very quietly become the top outfield prospect in the organization. He was a 3rd rounder in 2008, out of Azusa Pacific, and has a lifetime .807 OPS after two professional seasons. Kirk either led or was in the top five in just about every offensive category last year in the Sally League.

4-28-10: - Kirk Nieuwenhuis – OF – AA – Binghamton – Kirk is off to another of his typical productive years: .313.360/.475/.835. I happen to think that he’s the top Mets outfield prospect and will get to Queens ahead of Fernando “Day-To-Day” Martinez, who I understand is once again dinged up.

5-22-10: - OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis: Most of the outfield prospect press has fallen on Fernando Martinez; however, Nieuwenhuis has very quietly become the top Mets prospect for that position. Kirk hit 16-HR and 71-RBI for St. Lucie last year and is hitting .301/.337/.470/.807 so far this season for Binghamton. He needs to learn some plate discipline (only 8-BB this season), but as of right now, he’s on top of the list to become a future Mets center fielder. Keep an eye on this kid. Big trade bait.

5-27-10 - Stock up: Nieuwenhuis has quietly been putting together a decent year in AA, but there just wasn’t that home run pop we got used to last season at St. Lucie. Well, that’s not true anymore. Kirk hit #7 of the young year last night, which is his third in the past five games. His slugging percentage is up to .500 and his OPS is .837. It will be interesting to see what the Mets do with him next season. They gave him a taste over Fernando Martinez at ST and I can speak firsthand about how much he enjoyed being part of the Mets locker room with the Queens boys. Martinez will obviously not be ready to play centerfield at Citi Field, but Nieuwenhuis is earning playing CF in Buffalo, over F-Mart. As I said, interesting decision coming up for the Mets.

6-11-10: - CF Kirk Nieuwenhuis hit his 9th home run of the season in the opening game of a twin bill Thursday. Don’t look for him to be heading to Buffalo any time soon. Pedro Feliciano will be returning there as soon as Carlos Beltran is activated. Still, Captain Kirk is on pace for a 20+ HR season at AA.

7-3-10 from: - http://www.minorleagueball.com/2010/7/2/1548506/minor-league-notes-july-2nd-2010#storyjump  - The Mets have drafted several small college players in recent years, and one of their finds is outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis, an NAIA star at Azusa Pacific drafted in the third round in 2008. He's making the Double-A transition this year at Binghamton with mixed results, hitting .275/.317/.468. He's got power (17 doubles, 10 homers, .193 ISO) and speed (11 steals in 14 attempts; scouts back up the numbers with positive reviews of his athleticism and strength. He also has a good throwing arm. His main problem is strike zone judgment, as shown by his low OBP and 16/66 BB/K ratio in 265 at-bats. Reports from Eastern League sources indicate that he handles fastballs well, but still has problems recognizing breaking pitches. At age 22 he still has time to work on this, but if he's rushed too fast he will struggle; he'll likely need a good dose of Triple-A. I gave him a Grade C+ in the book and see no reason to change that at this point, but I'd like to see improvement in that BB/K.

7-3-10: - Nieuwenhuis continues to strengthen up after his short stint on the disabled list. He hit his 11th home run of the season in the first game of a Friday night doubleheader and it’s interesting that the team management continues to have him lead off. Right now, he is the top Mets’ outfield prospect in the system.

7-7-10: - Binghamton’s Kirk Nieuwenhuis is on fire… he led off Wednesday’s game with a double for the third game in a row and followed that with another double in his second at bat. At that point in the game he had nine doubles, a home run, and four singles in his last 20 at-bats.

7-12-10 from: - http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20100712&content_id=12218104&vkey=news_milb&fext=.jsp  - Eastern League - Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Binghamton - .469/.472/.844, 15-for-32, 6 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 9 R, 2 BB, 5 K, 0 SB - Kirk Nieuwenhuis, who was twice a Florida State League Player of the Week last year, successfully brought his act to Double-A this season. He enters the week of July 12 with an Eastern League-leading 44 extra-base hits, and his performance over the last seven games has been a shot in the arm to the B-Mets, who won four of those contests. Nieuwenhuis was 4-for-4 with a double and three RBIs on Tuesday, doubled twice during a 3-for-5 Wednesday and homered on Thursday. He was 3-for-7 between Friday and Saturday, and he homered and doubled on Sunday.

7-13-10 from: - http://www.amazinavenue.com/2010/7/13/1565273/mid-term-farm-system-review-part  - I'm of two minds about Nieuwenhuis. On one hand, you have to love the power he's shown during his minor league career and the athleticism he brings to the table every day. On the other hand, there are a couple numbers in his line this year that scream out. One, his walk rate is way down. While it's true it's been higher throughout his career, there's always some degree of attrition as the player advances, and sometimes a particular skill just hits a wall, and it's possible that Nieuwenhuis's patience has hit that wall in Double-A. And there's Captain Kirk's strikeout rate, which have been problematic since he was drafted back in 2008. But there's still a ton to like here. He's hitting for average, and he's a doubles machine. And doubles can always turn into homers. He's fast enough to be able to handle center field, a huge plus. And a very important piece of the puzzle: he hasn't struggled at all against lefties. His platoon splits are just about average, indicating that perhaps lefties' breaking balls aren't confounding him any more than righties'.

7-28 from: - http://www.amazinavenue.com/2010/7/28/1592006/mets-farm-q-a-with-baseball  - Nieuwenhuis continues to boost his stalk, continuing to hit after the jump to Double-A. I think he's more of a solid regular than a future star, a corner outfielder with 20-20 upside. His strike-zone discipline is a concern, and I don't think he really covers enough ground to play a major league center field. But he's a good prospect, no question.

8-3-10: - http://bleacherreport.com/articles/428260-mets-july-organizational-report-players-of-the-month  - AA Binghamton Mets, Position Player of the Month: Outfielder, Kirk Nieuwenhuis - After having some severe ups and downs, Nieuwenhuis has really gotten back into shape after pounding the ball in July. His plate discipline is emerging. He did strike out 24 times, but he drew 13 walks in July. He smacked six homers and drove in 17 runs while batting .328 and swiping two bases. His 38 hits are equally impressive. The Mets clearly value him highly, especially after they turned down a trade in which they would have sent him to Toronto for lefty setup man Scott Downs.

8-5-10: - http://www.minorleagueball.com/2010/8/5/1606179/2010-top-20-new-york-mets  - Kirk Nieuwenhuis, OF, Grade C+: .292/.340/.515, 16 homers, 13 steals, 30 walks, 92 strikeouts in 390 at-bats in Double-A. Solid across the board, main worry is high strikeout rate.

9-1-10: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/445049-mets-roster-expansion-keep-your-eyes-peeled-for-these-five-guys  - Disregard his struggles at Buffalo for the past month. He should earn a spot on the Mets in September. At Binghamton this year, the left-handed hitting outfielder hit .289 with 16 homers, 61 RBI, and 13 stolen bases. His ability to integrate some good baserunning with his power is impressive. He just needs to work out the kinks with his plate discipline. Either way, I’m looking forward to what he has to offer in the future.

9-15-10: - BINGHAMTON (AA) OF THE EASTERN LEAGUE: KIRK NIEUWENHUIS (OF) - Height: 6-3 Weight: 210 Bats: Left Throws: Right - Born: 8/7/87 Resides: San Dimas, CA - Obtained: Mets’ third round pick in 2008. Signing Scout: Fred Mazuca - Nieuwenhuis hit .289 (114-394) with 81 runs scored, 35 doubles, two triples, 16 home runs and 60 RBI in 94 games with the B-Mets before being promoted to Buffalo on August 5th. The 2009 Sterling Award winner for St. Lucie led Binghamton in runs scored, doubles, RBI and total bases. The 23-year-old was named to the Eastern League’s Eastern Division All-Star team before moving on to Buffalo and hitting .225 (27-120) over his final 30 games of the year.

9-29-10 from: - http://buffalo.bisons.milb.com/  - 2010 Notes: - -Spent the majority of the season with Double-A Binghamton. Promoted to the Herd on August 5 and remained with the team for the rest of the season. -Drove in 8RBI in fi rst 8 games with the Bisons. -Hit fi rst Triple-A home run in his eighth start, August 13 in Pawtucket. -Eleven of his 27 hits went for extra-bases, with 8 doubles, 1 triple and 2 home runs. -Went a perfect 3-3 in the second game of a doubleheader, September 1 against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. -Made all 29 of his starts in CF. Recorded 6 outfi eld assists in only 30 total games.

10-8-10 from: - http://www.baseballamerica.com/ : - Big and physical, he profiles better on an outfield corner and batting in the middle of a lineup. Nieuwenhuis has strength, runs a tick above average, owns a solid arm and swings the bat with authority. He hangs in well against lefthanders and learned to go deeper in counts while batting leadoff, though he still could use better patience. There are some concerns that he’s a tweener who’s not a true center fielder and lacks enough power to be a regular on the corner, but one scouts compared him to a lefthanded-hitting Aaron Rowand for his skills and all-out style.

11-25-10 from: - http://myworldofbaseball.com/wordpress/2010/11  - 9. Kirk Nieuwenhuis OF - Kirk lacks the range to play centerfield and he may be short in the power department to play one of the corners. Some feel he could end up as a 20-20 type player, falling short in 2010 with just 18 homeruns and 13 stolen bases. He struggled a bit in AAA hitting only .220 after 120 at bats. He played in the AFL where he hit a rather pedestrian .256. with an alarming 25 whiffs in just 26 games. He struck out 132 times in 2010 between AAA and AA. He is not going to win any glod gloves as a defensive outfielder and if his power does not develop his best hope may be as a fourth or fifth outfielder. One of the things he needs to improve on is his contact. His current strikeout numbers can be tolerated if he were to hit 35 to 40 homeruns and drive in over 100, but Kirk will not be that kind of hitter.

11-24-10 from: - http://www.metsgeek.com/showthread.php?658-Mets-Top-Twenty-Prospects&p=187156  - 8. Kirk Nieuwenhuis. I am not sold on Nieuwenhuis as some around here and throughout the Mets blogsphere are. His true worth is as a center fielder. If he can run down balls in center and cut down on his strikeouts, his bat will play on any team. I love his effort defensively and he shows a good bit of versatile out there. I think the main argument is whether his bat will play at the corners. Honestly, He needs to dramatically cut down on his strikeouts before I will take away the label of a 4th outfielder. Best case scenario is a solid starting outfielder for a team that won’t rely on him as its superstar player. Worst case scenario is failing to cut down on his strikeouts thus becoming a 4th or 5th outfielder type. He will start 2011 in Triple A and should stay there till September.

12-22-20 from: - http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=12623  - Kirk Nieuwenhuis

Year in Review: The system's breakout player in 2009, Captain Kirk proved it was for real while continuing to perform at the upper levels.

The Good: It's hard to find a weakness in Nieuwenhuis's game. He's a fundamentally sound hitter with gap-to-average power and average speed that should lead to home-run and stolen-base totals in the 15-20 range as a big leaguer. He's an energetic player who gets the most from his tools.

The Bad: One scout described Nieuwenhuis as “a bag full of fives,” as he doesn't have a single true plus tool. The biggest concern about his future is his ability to stay in center field, as his range falls a bit short for the position, and his arm is a tick below average. He can get a bit power hungry at times, leading to a high strikeout rate.

Ephemera: Nieuwenhuis is the highest drafted player ever out of Azusa Pacific, and no position player picked from the school has ever reached the big leagues.

Perfect World Projection: If he can somehow stick in center, he's a fine everyday player. In a corner, he's more of a second-division starter or fourth outfielder on a championship-level team.

Fantasy Impact: He won't have massive numbers in any one category, but he'll certainly be well-rounded.

Path to the Big Leagues: Nieuwenhuis has proved himself at every level so far but Triple-A, where he'll return to begin the 2011 season.


Mack's Mets © 2012