#23 – OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis

nieuwenhuis-stanceBats/Throws: L/R

Height/Weight: 6’3”, 210 lbs

Acquired: 3rd Rd 2008 (Azusa Pacific)

Born: 8/7/87 (Ripon, CA)

Why Ranked Here: Nieuwenhuis has a big league frame with length and some room to fill out. He has big league tools, notably the speed, range and instincts to play center and the arm to play right. He has big league taste, listing sushi as his favorite food. Nieuwenhuis has a clean swing mechanically, and gap power right now.

2008: Nieuwenhuis was one of the most productive and consistent Brooklyn Cyclones, hitting for a modest average, reaching base and knocking some doubles.

Dr. Pangloss Says: Nieuwenhuis’s athleticism will allow him to hold down an MLB centerfield job, or at least qualify as a 4th OF who hits righties. .

On the Flipside: Nieuwenhuis did not hit lefties (.221/.329/.324 in 68 AB) as well as he hit righties (.295/.354/.419 in 217 AB). If he fails to improve against southpaws, he will find it difficult to hold down an everyday job. Moreover, if he can’t play center everyday, without the power for right, he falls into tweener and fourth OF land.

Projected 2009 Start: St. Lucie CF

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There are 6 comments

  1. mrmustseetv

    I tell you I really like Nieuwenhuis. Got to watch him play in Brooklyn and he impressed me with his all-around skills. I’m not saying that he’ll be the best of the 2008 Brooklyn Cyclones class, but last season he clearly was the one guy on the team that seemed more advanced.

    Nieuwenhuis has the ability to play center in the majors. His range is slightly above-average and his arm is good enough to play in right. He has a nice line-drive stroke that may develop into 15 homer power – maybe – as he gets stronger. More importantly, Nieuwenhuis carries himself like professional. That’s the one thing that struck me as I saw him. Many of the other Cyclones would goof around and joke like they were still in college, but Nieuwenhuis had a more serious demeanor about him. He was all business. I liked that.

    I wonder Toby’s thoughts on this, but while I was watching him Nieuwenhuis reminded me a lot of Mark Kotsay – a guy who can hit .280, 10-15 homers and play a good centerfield. At worst, Nieuwenhuis seems to have the skills to be a valuable 4th outfielder.

    Will Nieuwenhuis be a star? Probably not. But he certainly seems like he has a very good shot at being a solid major leaguer, which is all you can ask from a draft once you slip into Rounds 3-10.

  2. Displaced Mets Fan

    I tend to agree — I liked a lot of what I saw from Nieuwenhuis. He seems solid, consistent, reliable, professional, etc., just not a superstar. I would question whether he has that high of a ceiling (even Dr. Pangloss did not seem to give him that high of a ceiling), but I also think his floor is a lot higher than most.

    1. mrmustseetv

      His ceiling will really depend on whether or not he improves his ability to hit lefties. If not, then he’s definitely a 4th outfielder or platoon player, but a nice prospect nonetheless.

      1. Displaced Mets Fan

        Even with his ability to hit lefties, does not seem like he will be a big power hitter (i.e. over 20 HR) or a big speedster, rather he seems destined for .280-.290, 15 or so HR, 75 RBI, 75 R type numbers — nothing to shrug at (not bad at all in fact) but not much more than a nice player

  3. stickguy

    based on this, he certainly has the size to hit for more power. And it isn’t unheard of for a guy with clean mechanics and a nice smooth level stroke to make some adjustments to add more HRs to the mix as he develops.

    The hitting lefty issue? That will just take time and ABs to see if he improves enough there. Again, plenty of guys have issues with the same side thrower when young, and end up becoming adept over time.

    Really need to get a kid like this some ABs. he also seems to have the profile of a prospect that could really “find it” and somewhat shoot up the chart quickly with a big year.

    I like to see guys like this with a good attitude, solid mechanics, etc. vs. clueless boobs that have some fantastic raw tool but no idea what to do with it.

    I wonder which group, overall, tends to turn out better?

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