When Kirk Nieuwenhuis was first called up, no one really knew what to expect. Despite succeeding at every level that he played in the minors, he was not considered to be a top prospect, and his ceiling was never high. However, he performed very well, especially in the clutch, and was affectionately given the nickname Captain Kirk.
He struggled in the second half of 2012 and finished with a .252 BA, seven home runs and 28 RBI in 91 games. His struggles carried over into spring training where he hit .086 in 35 at-bats, and they continued into the regular season where he batted .125 in 16 games before being finally demoted to Triple-A Las Vegas.
While initially struggling at Vegas, over the last ten games Nieuwenhuis has started to heat up. In that span Kirk is batting .297 with five home runs. More importantly is the fact that he has ten walks as well. While these numbers may be somewhat heightened due to the friendly hitting environment of the Pacific Coast League, it is a monumental step in restoring the 25-year old’s confidence which has taken a hit. If this success continues, it will be interesting to see what the Mets decide to do with him and whether he can reclaim some type of role in the Mets outfield configuration.