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2014 Mets Season Preview: Kirk Nieuwenhuis

Once a regular in the Mets outfield, Kirk Nieuwenhuis was squeezed out in 2013. Does he have any shot at contributing in 2014?

Scott Cunningham

"Nieuwenhuis" looks like a name that'd win you a lot of points in Scrabble, in the universe where Scrabble allows proper nouns. Parse the name out, though, and you see it's made up of a lot of vowels that wouldn't add up to a lot. The same could be said of Mr. Nieuwenhuis himself, a serviceable player who doesn't offer much to the Mets as currently constituted.

Kirk racked up some big league at bats the last two seasons, performing admirably in the field while topping out as adequate at the plate. To his credit, he did hit a dramatic three-run homer to sink the Cubs on Father's Day. (You may recall the on-field celebration of that moment as causing Bob Costas to lament the end of Western civilization.) By that point in the season, however, he'd already lost the starting job in centerfield to Juan Lagares. Nieuwenhuis's biggest asset was his glove, but he couldn't compete in that department with Lagares, who seems on his way to becoming the Rey Ordoñez of center field.

This year, the Mets outfield is even more crowded. Starts will be doled out to some combination of Lagares, Curtis Granderson, Chris Young, Eric Young, and (sigh) Lucas Duda. Nieuwenhuis's strikeout totals nullify any value he'd bring to the bench, as does the fact that he's not that great at hitting. He will undoubtedly start the year at triple-A Las Vegas, make some amazing catches there, and quietly wait for rash of outfield injuries to spell out his name on the Citi Field scoreboard again.