The League is starting to catch up to Kirk Nieuwenhuis. He is striking out at an alarming rate, especially for a guy who is not playing every single day. I’m not going to speculate whether this is what he is, it’s too early for that. I’m just going to state the numbers and let the debate begin.
Over the last 30 days Kirk has just 13 hits in his last 66 at-bats. That is a paltry .197 average. The good part is that 7 of his hits have gone for extra bases, including 4 home runs. However he has just 5 RBI over that span and is not scoring many runs or stealing any bases.
His ridiculous strikeout rates are beginning to take a toll on Manager Terry Collins’ confidence with the young lefty. If it wasn’t for the struggles of Torres, Hairston’s virtual inability to hit righties, and Jason Bay’s injuries, Kirk may have started to lose significant playing time by now.
He has struck out 85 times in his 254 at-bats! That’s 33% of his plate appearances. He is currently tied for 6th in the NL in k’s.
He has a real tough time hitting lefties, hitting just .167 against them and struck out in 26 of his 60 at-bats which is almost 50% of the time. He also has not hit well with RISP hitting just .180.
He still has a chance to prove himself and get things started up again, but he is going to have to figure out what the rest of the pitchers have picked up on as a weakness and address it. He has some real good potential, and is a “gamer”. He plays a very good center field and has shown power and has some speed. He can be a player for us, it just seems like he needs to make some adjustments.
This is a team in contention and even though we still have an eye towards the future, Terry is not going to mortgage a possible playoff spot to keep playing players who are not hitting. I really like Kirk and hope he comes out of this soon for his sake and ours, but he will eventually see the bench more often if his struggles continue.