Nieuwenhuis Shows No Signs of Slowing Down

BINGHAMTON, NY - Kirk Nieuwenhuis opened eyes with his second half performance with St. Lucie last season. This season in Binghamton, the third-year centerfielder has shown no signs of slowing down. Nieuwenhuis continues to show strength in every facet of his game and has his manager thinking big things.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis' stock is steadily rising in 2010. After having a cup of coffee in Binghamton in 2009, Nieuwenhuis began this season as the B-Mets' starting center fielder and leadoff hitter, and is establishing himself as a promising prospect.

The left-handed hitting Nieuwenhuis showcased power and speed last season. While hitting .282 over 131 combined games from St. Lucie and Binghamton, he smashed 17 home runs, 38 doubles and six triples, and stole 17 bases. He also finished with 99 runs scored 73 RBI, and was a Florida State League Mid-Season & Post-Season All-Star.

This season in the Eastern League, he's proving that his power/speed combination is legitimate. In 50 games, he's hitting .280 with eight home runs, 30 RBI, 44 runs and 10 stolen bases.

Following the team's mid-May struggles, Nieuwenhuis is concentrating on helping the B-Mets get back to playing winning baseball.

"(The season) started off pretty well," he said. "We kind of got in a rut there for a little bit, but hopefully we can bounce back from it. Started off real hot, and I think we have a great team here and as long as we can stay healthy we'll be great."

Staying balanced at the plate and rebounding well from bad games have been integral factors in Nieuwenhuis' strong performance thus far.

"What's been working for me is trying to keep everything even keeled, not trying to get too high or too low. I try to keep the slumps to a minimum, I bounce back as quick as possible. That's really what I've been focusing on," Nieuwenhuis said.

An improvement against left-handed pitchers has also been a significant part of Nieuwenhuis' success. After struggling mightily against southpaws last year, Nieuwenhuis is hitting .316 (18-for-57) against left-handers in 2010.

"Just experience, seeing them as much as I can," he said regarding his results against lefties. "The more I hit off of them, the better I start to see the ball."

One of the biggest differences in Double-A as opposed to High-A is the quicker pace of the game. Nieuwenhuis has been working hard on adapting to the speed of the game.

"You've got to be on your feet mentally a bit more," he said. "It's a bit more fast paced as far as the mental aspects of the game, so you always have to be thinking, you've got to think a little bit quicker."

Nieuwenhuis' walk rate has decreased this season; he has just 12 base on balls in 210 at-bats. He attributes that to the approach opposing pitchers take towards him.

"I think hitting in front of all these guys with good bats, especially earlier in the season, Hubbard, Evans, Duda, Lutz, all of these guys, I know I'm going to get pitches to hit, and I've been getting pretty good pitches to hit. I haven't been walking a whole lot, but I'm just trying to get on base for those guys," he said.

B-Mets manager Tim Teufel isn't concerned with Nieuwenhuis' lack of walks, as long as he keeps hitting the way he has been.

"I think they attack him," Teufel said. "He's a leadoff guy; when he starts off the inning, you definitely don't want to walk that guy. He's a big target too, he's not a little guy that pitchers have to kind of guide the ball and hit spots to. He has a larger strike zone. Those things attribute to him not walking as much. He can do some damage for you, so I don't mind that at all."

After splitting time between center and right field with Brooklyn in 2008, Nieuwenhuis has only played center since the start of last season. He's pleased with how he has progressed defensively.

"Right now I feel comfortable in center field," Nieuwenhuis said. "I haven't played a whole lot of left or right (field) this year, except during Spring Training. I feel real comfortable out there. Hopefully I can stay healthy and stay quick out there."

Nieuwenhuis is one of several players from last year's St. Lucie squad to be brought up to Binghamton, along with Teufel. Being around some of the same guys for the second year in a row is helping Nieuwenhuis' comfort level.

"It adds an element of familiarity, and that's always good," Nieuwenhuis said. "(Teufel's) a great manager; he's got everybody's best interests in mind. It's nice to play with some of the same guys that I played with last year. It's a great clubhouse to be in."

Teufel has witnessed Nieuwenhuis evolve first hand, and feels he has the talent to make it to the big leagues down the road.

"He's a unique player," Teufel said. "When you can provide power and speed…those are attributes you like to see in an outfielder. The great outfielders had speed and had power."

"He has a chance to make a difference at the major league level at some point in his career," he continued. "With those two tools alone, it's something I think the Mets ought to get excited about. He's got great makeup. He works hard, keeps in shape, he cares about the game and he comes ready to play every night. It's a manager's dream."


Amazin Clubhouse Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nKirk Nieuwenhuis' stock is steadily rising in 2010. After having a cup of coffee in Binghamton in 2009, Nieuwenhuis began this season as the B-Mets' starting center fielder and leadoff hitter, and is establishing himself as a promising prospect.
\r\n
\r\nThe left-handed hitting Nieuwenhuis showcased power and speed last season. While hitting .282 over 131 combined games from St. Lucie and Binghamton, he smashed 17 home runs, 38 doubles and six triples, and stole 17 bases. He also finished with 99 runs scored 73 RBI, and was a Florida State League Mid-Season & Post-Season All-Star.
\r\n
\r\nThis season in the Eastern League, he's proving that his power/speed combination is legitimate. In 50 games, he's hitting .280 with eight home runs, 30 RBI, 44 runs and 10 stolen bases.
\r\n
\r\nFollowing the team's mid-May struggles, Nieuwenhuis is concentrating on helping the B-Mets get back to playing winning baseball.
\r\n
\r\n\"(The season) started off pretty well,\" he said. \"We kind of got in a rut there for a little bit, but hopefully we can bounce back from it. Started off real hot, and I think we have a great team here and as long as we can stay healthy we'll be great.\"
\r\n
\r\nStaying balanced at the plate and rebounding well from bad games have been integral factors in Nieuwenhuis' strong performance thus far.
\r\n
\r\n\"What's been working for me is trying to keep everything even keeled, not trying to get too high or too low. I try to keep the slumps to a minimum, I bounce back as quick as possible. That's really what I've been focusing on,\" Nieuwenhuis said.
\r\n
\r\nAn improvement against left-handed pitchers has also been a significant part of Nieuwenhuis' success. After struggling mightily against southpaws last year, Nieuwenhuis is hitting .316 (18-for-57) against left-handers in 2010.
\r\n
\r\n\"Just experience, seeing them as much as I can,\" he said regarding his results against lefties. \"The more I hit off of them, the better I start to see the ball.\"
\r\n
\r\nOne of the biggest differences in Double-A as opposed to High-A is the quicker pace of the game. Nieuwenhuis has been working hard on adapting to the speed of the game.
\r\n
\r\n\"You've got to be on your feet mentally a bit more,\" he said. \"It's a bit more fast paced as far as the mental aspects of the game, so you always have to be thinking, you've got to think a little bit quicker.\"
\r\n
\r\nNieuwenhuis' walk rate has decreased this season; he has just 12 base on balls in 210 at-bats. He attributes that to the approach opposing pitchers take towards him.
\r\n
\r\n\"I think hitting in front of all these guys with good bats, especially earlier in the season, Hubbard, Evans, Duda, Lutz, all of these guys, I know I'm going to get pitches to hit, and I've been getting pretty good pitches to hit. I haven't been walking a whole lot, but I'm just trying to get on base for those guys,\" he said.
\r\n
\r\nB-Mets manager Tim Teufel isn't concerned with Nieuwenhuis' lack of walks, as long as he keeps hitting the way he has been.
\r\n
\r\n\"I think they attack him,\" Teufel said. \"He's a leadoff guy; when he starts off the inning, you definitely don't want to walk that guy. He's a big target too, he's not a little guy that pitchers have to kind of guide the ball and hit spots to. He has a larger strike zone. Those things attribute to him not walking as much. He can do some damage for you, so I don't mind that at all.\"
\r\n
\r\nAfter splitting time between center and right field with Brooklyn in 2008, Nieuwenhuis has only played center since the start of last season. He's pleased with how he has progressed defensively.
\r\n
\r\n\"Right now I feel comfortable in center field,\" Nieuwenhuis said. \"I haven't played a whole lot of left or right (field) this year, except during Spring Training. I feel real comfortable out there. Hopefully I can stay healthy and stay quick out there.\"
\r\n
\r\nNieuwenhuis is one of several players from last year's St. Lucie squad to be brought up to Binghamton, along with Teufel. Being around some of the same guys for the second year in a row is helping Nieuwenhuis' comfort level.
\r\n
\r\n\"It adds an element of familiarity, and that's always good,\" Nieuwenhuis said. \"(Teufel's) a great manager; he's got everybody's best interests in mind. It's nice to play with some of the same guys that I played with last year. It's a great clubhouse to be in.\"
\r\n
\r\nTeufel has witnessed Nieuwenhuis evolve first hand, and feels he has the talent to make it to the big leagues down the road.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's a unique player,\" Teufel said. \"When you can provide power and speed…those are attributes you like to see in an outfielder. The great outfielders had speed and had power.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"He has a chance to make a difference at the major league level at some point in his career,\" he continued. \"With those two tools alone, it's something I think the Mets ought to get excited about. He's got great makeup. He works hard, keeps in shape, he cares about the game and he comes ready to play every night. It's a manager's dream.\"
\r\n
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