No reflections or attempts at analysis here. I'm just indulging in some feel-good non-analytical Nieuwenhuis love, one of the few pieces of good news this season and proceeding to convey how good the news of his emergence is.
I am stating the obvious, but as I said, this is more an expression of optimism than serious analysis. The emergence of Nieuwenhuis (I'm even excited about being able to spell his name from memory!) is especially great news for the Mets because now they actually have two candidates who stand a good chance of filling both their gaping outfield holes. Before Nieuwenhuis started looking legit, their outfield was the thinnest part of their system, with only guys like Puello and Marte having long-shot chances of contributing beyond Fernando. (Brahiam Maldonado is quietly starting to make himself interesting again. He has a loooong way to go before being legit, but he could be one of those guys who just needed to develop some plate discipline to really turn a corner, and he might be in the process of doing just that. It is not uncommon for this to take shape relatively late in someone's development, and if he has all the other tools, his poor station on the age-level curve might not be that much of a problem.)
The Mets now can afford to tread water with stopgaps in the corners for a year and see how these guys pan out, and I remain bullish on Fernando Martinez. (Though there is more hope than thought at the prospect of him staying healthy.) If N! can play a good center field (and I'm not advocating this, and am aware that it's becoming a tiresome subject) the notion of trading Beltran to get younger and cheaper (should he recover completely) becomes seriously viable. He has two years remaining on his contract, which, while expensive, is more than fair, so I don't really buy into the idea of his contract rendering him unmovable. Of course, this would require a extreme high-end outcome for Nieuwenhuis (essentially to be a credible replacement for the best center fielder in baseball) to be an option. Also, it would be pursuing a long term strategy that is aimed for the years when Wright and Reyes hit their late 20s/early 30s, so the slightest delay would be risky. So I fully acknowledge that it is far more likely to be the wrong move than the right one. (Hopefully this will be enough to avert too much criticism for bringing out the Beltran saw!)
Nieuwenhuis strikes out too much, but he walks just enough that a merely moderate decrease in his strikeout totals would be enough to truly mitigate that liability. His contact rates (another weakness) have exploded to the tune of an approximate 35 point jump in batting average in about 100 PAs, which is astounding. And he is in the midst of showcasing power that is downright elite. He cannot possibly stay this hot (Albert Pujols probably couldn't even in AA) but how much of this is for real will be truly something to closely watch.
So here's hoping for yet another glimmer of hope. We do have faint lights in all corners (and some bright ones) from the starting rotation (an upside of dominance to effectiveness from Santana, Mejia, Holt, Pelfrey, and Niese) to the right side of the infield (Davis/Evans--we have some insurance in case Ike can't overcome his splits--Havens, and Tejada--you know what? showing only moderately less power and far more patience than Fernando did at the age of 19 in the same league doesn't scare me one bit from a slick middle infielder--to the left half of the infield--Wright and Reyes are entering their primes, but they still have a long way to go--to the aformentioned outfield, to the bullpen (Rustich and Moviel, and they have upside as starters as well) and even a lottery ticket with Thole, and enough cash to supplement those lights that fizzle out or max out as backups (a strong possibility for Thole particularly).
Does this constitute the makings of a glorious future? Of course not. Aside from Mejia, all these guys are good candidates to bust and thinking that all of your prospects from your As to your B- guys become strong major leaguers is laughable. But the bad luck can't continue forever--outside of Chicago. I'm confident that a decent portion (read: 2-4) of these guys will become viable major leaguers, and that's grounds for some solace in an organization that is otherwise perpetually on the brink of a truly devastating, franchise-crippling mistake.
And speaking of our prospect odds, here's a poll far y'all
What is the best approximation of the order--from greatest to least--of our prospects' likelihood of having some success (not necessarily great success) in the majors and not busting? (To avoid the necessity of 1000 permutations, I'm only listing 4 playe
Niese/Mejia/Holt/Fernando (4 votes)
Niese/Mejia/Fernando/Holt (10 votes)
Mejia/Niese/Holt/Fernando (6 votes)
Mejia/Niese/Fernando/Holt (7 votes)
Fernando/Niese/Mejia/Holt (15 votes)
Fernando/Mejia/Niese/Holt (3 votes)
Fernando/Mejia/Holt/Niese (5 votes)
None of these are even close (4 votes)
54 total votes