Now that the 2012 season has concluded for the New York Mets, we have taken a look at overall breakdowns for the offense, starting rotation, and bullpen this past season. We will now take a look at every player on the roster from A (Manny Acosta) to Y (Chris Young) as our Mets 101 Player Review series returns. In each review we will take a look at one player's 2012 performance and what role, if any, they can expect to have with the Mets in 2013. Today we will look at Kirk Nieuwenhuis.
Mets 101 Player Review: Kirk Nieuwenhuis
2012 Stats: .252 Average / 7 HR / 28 RBI / .315 OBP/ 40 Runs
2012 Story: Captain Kirk, as many dub him, had an incredible beginning of the season. As his early season performance garnered him rookie of the year consideration. However, by June his bat had tailed off and so did his thought to be, great campaign. the major plague for the outfielder was his inability to avoid striking out. While it is one thing to hit a ton of homeruns and strikeout, it is another when you can't buy a hit and continue to have the level of difficulty Nieuwenhuis had experienced. At one point batting .123. Once July came around, along with word that outfielders Mike Baxter and Jason Bay would be returning, Nieuwenhuis was sent down to Triple-A Buffalo (Bisons). On August 22, he would be shut down for a partially torn plantar fascia in his right foot.
Contract Status: Minor League Contract / Rookie Contract
Odds of Returning: 90%.
2013 Role: Back Up Outfielder / Possible Starter
The biggest issue with Kirk Nieuwenhuis may be something in which the fans have become all too familiar with in many of their players. INJURIES. The partially torn plantar fascia isn't the first time that he had been shut down due injury. In 2011, he was shut down for a torn labrum (non-throwing shoulder). What may in fact be the issue, is his apparent all out play. In the outfield Nieuwenhuis can excel at times. With more experience and comfortableness, one can imagine he may be as good as the rest of them in terms of defense. Being able to cover a lot of ground and the speed to catch otherwise out of play balls, concerning the different outfield positions. As for his bat, where he once averaged .297 through the beginning of the season through June, he obliviously hit the rookie wall right afterwards. One thing I think contributed to that was the fact that he should have been used more in the role Mike Baxter was used, especially being that they both are rookies. Nieuwenhuis was an everyday player in his debut season. Fatigue and exhaustion are not hard to imagine factors.
So for next season, I strongly believe not only is he going to come back healthy, but stronger and hopefully smarter at bat as well. He will be competing for a starting position in the outfield
Be sure to check back tomorrow for Mets 101's player review of relief pitcher Bobby Parnell.