#3: Kirk Nieuwenhuis Scouting Report

If there is one position of depth in the Mets system, it is in the outfield. Leading that pack is Kirk Nieuwenhuis. The outfielder enters his fourth year in the organization, but now stands as the highest rated outfield prospect. That standing combined with a strong start should open the door for Nieuwenhuis to get to New York sometime this season. Check out his scouting report to learn more.

Vital Statistics
Name: Kirk Nieuwenhuis
DOB: August 7, 1987
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 210
Bats: Left
Throws: Right
Status: 3rd Round (2008) – Azusa Pacific

Coming off an electric 2009 season, scouts, fans and other observers all wanted to see if Kirk Nieuwenhuis could keep up the pace he set for himself. It was in 2009 that Nieuwenhuis was one of the most productive hitters in the entire Florida State League, but could he answer the call in the Eastern League? The Eastern League has a knack for separating simply good ballplayers from big league talent. After 94 games in Double-A and another 30 games in Triple-A in 2010, Nieuwenhuis is assuredly the latter.

The 2008 third round pick followed up his 2009 performance in St. Lucie with another stock-building year in Binghamton. Nieuwenhuis hit .289, with 16 home runs, 60 RBI, 35 doubles and 81 runs scores, notching a run scored on 71 percent of his hits. It was the complete package of production expected from a prospect that continues to improve around every corner.

"This year, I've tried to be a little more consistent with everything," Nieuwenhuis said. "I think the big thing this year is I've tried to really cut down the slumps as much as possible. As a hitter, that's got to be one of your goals, to really nip those in the bud."

It's a fair assessment from the man himself. Nieuwenhuis has shown himself to be streaky at times, but when he's clicking the outfielder can be a scorching combination of offense. That was noted by Tim Teufel, who managed his outfielder in 2009 and 2010.

"He's come a long way offensively," Teufel said during an in-season interview. "He's been able to hit the inside fastball, over the last year and a half, better than he's ever hit it before. That takes away an avenue for a pitcher to get him out. He puts the time and effort into (his game). He's getting the results because of his effort, and his ability to be out there regularly."

It was during the summer of 2009 when Nieuwenhuis went on an explosive streak that was not mirrored anywhere across the league. While the outfielder did not completely replicate that run in 2010, he did enjoy a hot July – after missing a few weeks with a shoulder injury – which prompted the decision to promote him to Triple-A Buffalo.

The immediate results were not exciting as Nieuwenhuis hit just .225 in his first month in Triple-A, but he did hit two home runs, drive in 17 runs, tally eight more doubles and gain a strong sense of what it means to compete and succeed at the highest minor league level.

"To come to Buffalo and not be able to hit was difficult," he acknowledged. "You just want to show all the guys you can hit. I have to keep working on my swing and my approach offensively. Just try and do whatever it takes to get better."

Year

Team

AVG.

AB

Hits

HR

RBI

R

SB

BB

K

OBP

SLG

2010

Buffalo

.225

120

27

2

17

10

0

11

39

.295

.358

2010

Binghamton

.289

394

114

16

60

81

13

30

93

.337

.510

2009

Binghamton

.406

32

13

1

2

8

1

4

9

.472

.656

2009

St. Lucie

.274

482

132

16

71

91

16

53

118

.357

.467

2008

Brooklyn

.277

285

79

3

29

34

11

29

70

.348

.396



Batting and Power: Simply put, Nieuwenhuis is an extra base machine with above-average home run power. Though most of his home run power remains to the pull side – right-center gap to pole – he sprays line drives around the entire field which is why his doubles totals have been so high the last two years. He has excellent balance and was more closed in his stance in 2010, making him quicker to the ball and smoother through his finish. He demonstrates very good plate coverage with the ability to go with the pitch. He has an athletic stance and drives his hips through the ball which makes his home run power look easy. His discipline still waivers at times which makes Nieuwenhuis a streaky hitter and keeps his strikeout rate high (25.6 percent in 2010), but the range of tools are there for him to remain a highly productive hitter.

Base Running and Speed: Nieuwenhuis is not a plus runner or base stealer, but his excellent athleticism makes him a very capable base thief and one who can take three bases without a problem. Overall, his speed is above-average which lets him be aggressive, especially when he has hit top speed. His first step on the bases and in the field continues to be a focus, but that development during the 2010 season made him a better defender and base runner. Stealing double-digit totals should not be a problem over the course of a full season.

Defense: Nieuwenhuis has very good range for center field, but will not cover as much ground as other outfielders on this list. The quality of his defense is born out of his improving first step and proper reads and routes he takes off the bat. He takes good routes to the gap and his field awareness has his head on a swivel. He rarely makes incorrect reads and plays the sinking line drive very well. His arm strength is a few ticks above average, but his quick release and carry make up for what he lacks in raw strength. As for his long term projection, Nieuwenhuis will remain in centerfield in the minors, but it is more likely he will see time at all three spots at the highest level. Whether or not he will be able to handle Citi Field's expansive center field will not be known until he gets the opportunity.

Projection: Nieuwenhuis has the full complement of tools that will make him a productive big league bat. He doesn't have the raw power to be a middle of the order producer and needs to cut down his strikeout rate to hit at the top of the order, but his extra base prowess will carve a spot for him in the lineup – likely in the 6th or 7th spot to start. Nieuwenhuis is a pure athlete and all of his tools rate above-average though he lacks a true standout or plus attribute. There is still room to grow with the bat – specifically improving his plate discipline – but Nieuwenhuis is a refined player at this point who projects as a big league regular that will contribute strong across-the-board numbers.

ETA: 2011. Nieuwenhuis should see plenty of time in big league camp during spring training. However, he is certainly ticketed back to Triple-A Buffalo to begin the season, but should make his big league promotion sometime during the season. Some formula of a productive season from Nieuwenhuis, an injury on the big league roster or his addition to the 40-man roster before September 1 will get him in Queens in 2011.


Amazin Clubhouse Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nVital Statistics
\r\nName: Kirk Nieuwenhuis
\r\nDOB: August 7, 1987
\r\nHeight: 6'3\"
\r\nWeight: 210
\r\nBats: Left
\r\nThrows: Right
\r\nStatus: 3rd Round (2008) – Azusa Pacific
\r\n
\r\nComing off an electric 2009 season, scouts, fans and other observers all wanted to see if Kirk Nieuwenhuis could keep up the pace he set for himself. It was in 2009 that Nieuwenhuis was one of the most productive hitters in the entire Florida State League, but could he answer the call in the Eastern League? The Eastern League has a knack for separating simply good ballplayers from big league talent. After 94 games in Double-A and another 30 games in Triple-A in 2010, Nieuwenhuis is assuredly the latter.
\r\n
\r\nThe 2008 third round pick followed up his 2009 performance in St. Lucie with another stock-building year in Binghamton. Nieuwenhuis hit .289, with 16 home runs, 60 RBI, 35 doubles and 81 runs scores, notching a run scored on 71 percent of his hits. It was the complete package of production expected from a prospect that continues to improve around every corner.
\r\n
\r\n\"This year, I've tried to be a little more consistent with everything,\" Nieuwenhuis said. \"I think the big thing this year is I've tried to really cut down the slumps as much as possible. As a hitter, that's got to be one of your goals, to really nip those in the bud.\"
\r\n
\r\nIt's a fair assessment from the man himself. Nieuwenhuis has shown himself to be streaky at times, but when he's clicking the outfielder can be a scorching combination of offense. That was noted by Tim Teufel, who managed his outfielder in 2009 and 2010.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's come a long way offensively,\" Teufel said during an in-season interview. \"He's been able to hit the inside fastball, over the last year and a half, better than he's ever hit it before. That takes away an avenue for a pitcher to get him out. He puts the time and effort into (his game). He's getting the results because of his effort, and his ability to be out there regularly.\"
\r\n
\r\nIt was during the summer of 2009 when Nieuwenhuis went on an explosive streak that was not mirrored anywhere across the league. While the outfielder did not completely replicate that run in 2010, he did enjoy a hot July – after missing a few weeks with a shoulder injury – which prompted the decision to promote him to Triple-A Buffalo.
\r\n
\r\nThe immediate results were not exciting as Nieuwenhuis hit just .225 in his first month in Triple-A, but he did hit two home runs, drive in 17 runs, tally eight more doubles and gain a strong sense of what it means to compete and succeed at the highest minor league level.
\r\n
\r\n\"To come to Buffalo and not be able to hit was difficult,\" he acknowledged. \"You just want to show all the guys you can hit. I have to keep working on my swing and my approach offensively. Just try and do whatever it takes to get better.\"
\r\n
\r\n\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n
\r\n

Year

\r\n

\r\n Team

\r\n

\r\n AVG.

\r\n

\r\n AB

\r\n

\r\n Hits

\r\n

\r\n HR

\r\n

\r\n RBI

\r\n

R

\r\n

\r\n SB

\r\n

\r\n BB

\r\n

K

\r\n

\r\n OBP

\r\n

\r\n SLG

\r\n

\r\n 2010

\r\n

\r\n Buffalo

\r\n

\r\n .225

\r\n

\r\n 120

\r\n

\r\n 27

\r\n

\r\n 2

\r\n

\r\n 17

\r\n

\r\n 10

\r\n

\r\n 0

\r\n

\r\n 11

\r\n

\r\n 39

\r\n

\r\n .295

\r\n

\r\n .358

\r\n

\r\n 2010

\r\n

\r\n Binghamton

\r\n

\r\n .289

\r\n

\r\n 394

\r\n

\r\n 114

\r\n

\r\n 16

\r\n

\r\n 60

\r\n

\r\n 81

\r\n

\r\n 13

\r\n

\r\n 30

\r\n

\r\n 93

\r\n

\r\n .337

\r\n

\r\n .510

\r\n

\r\n 2009

\r\n

\r\n Binghamton

\r\n

\r\n .406

\r\n

\r\n 32

\r\n

\r\n 13

\r\n

\r\n 1

\r\n

\r\n 2

\r\n

\r\n 8

\r\n

\r\n 1

\r\n

\r\n 4

\r\n

\r\n 9

\r\n

\r\n .472

\r\n

\r\n .656

\r\n

\r\n 2009

\r\n

\r\n St. Lucie

\r\n

\r\n .274

\r\n

\r\n 482

\r\n

\r\n 132

\r\n

\r\n 16

\r\n

\r\n 71

\r\n

\r\n 91

\r\n

\r\n 16

\r\n

\r\n 53

\r\n

\r\n 118

\r\n

\r\n .357

\r\n

\r\n .467

\r\n

\r\n 2008

\r\n

\r\n Brooklyn

\r\n

\r\n .277

\r\n

\r\n 285

\r\n

\r\n 79

\r\n

\r\n 3

\r\n

\r\n 29

\r\n

\r\n 34

\r\n

\r\n 11

\r\n

\r\n 29

\r\n

\r\n 70

\r\n

\r\n .348

\r\n

\r\n .396


\r\n
\r\nBatting and Power: Simply put, Nieuwenhuis is an extra base machine with above-average home run power. Though most of his home run power remains to the pull side – right-center gap to pole – he sprays line drives around the entire field which is why his doubles totals have been so high the last two years. He has excellent balance and was more closed in his stance in 2010, making him quicker to the ball and smoother through his finish. He demonstrates very good plate coverage with the ability to go with the pitch. He has an athletic stance and drives his hips through the ball which makes his home run power look easy. His discipline still waivers at times which makes Nieuwenhuis a streaky hitter and keeps his strikeout rate high (25.6 percent in 2010), but the range of tools are there for him to remain a highly productive hitter.
\r\n
\r\nBase Running and Speed: Nieuwenhuis is not a plus runner or base stealer, but his excellent athleticism makes him a very capable base thief and one who can take three bases without a problem. Overall, his speed is above-average which lets him be aggressive, especially when he has hit top speed. His first step on the bases and in the field continues to be a focus, but that development during the 2010 season made him a better defender and base runner. Stealing double-digit totals should not be a problem over the course of a full season.
\r\n
\r\nDefense: Nieuwenhuis has very good range for center field, but will not cover as much ground as other outfielders on this list. The quality of his defense is born out of his improving first step and proper reads and routes he takes off the bat. He takes good routes to the gap and his field awareness has his head on a swivel. He rarely makes incorrect reads and plays the sinking line drive very well. His arm strength is a few ticks above average, but his quick release and carry make up for what he lacks in raw strength. As for his long term projection, Nieuwenhuis will remain in centerfield in the minors, but it is more likely he will see time at all three spots at the highest level. Whether or not he will be able to handle Citi Field's expansive center field will not be known until he gets the opportunity.
\r\n
\r\nProjection: Nieuwenhuis has the full complement of tools that will make him a productive big league bat. He doesn't have the raw power to be a middle of the order producer and needs to cut down his strikeout rate to hit at the top of the order, but his extra base prowess will carve a spot for him in the lineup – likely in the 6th or 7th spot to start. Nieuwenhuis is a pure athlete and all of his tools rate above-average though he lacks a true standout or plus attribute. There is still room to grow with the bat – specifically improving his plate discipline – but Nieuwenhuis is a refined player at this point who projects as a big league regular that will contribute strong across-the-board numbers.
\r\n
\r\nETA: 2011. Nieuwenhuis should see plenty of time in big league camp during spring training. However, he is certainly ticketed back to Triple-A Buffalo to begin the season, but should make his big league promotion sometime during the season. Some formula of a productive season from Nieuwenhuis, an injury on the big league roster or his addition to the 40-man roster before September 1 will get him in Queens in 2011.
\r\n
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