Tag Archive for Kirk Nieuwenhuis

The Ex Files, 2016

Andrew Beaton’s welcome-home profile of new Mets second baseman Neil Walker includes this fascinating detail: Walker, it turns out, has taken over the Upper East Side apartment lease of Jon Niese, the man he was traded for over the winter.

18And no, Jon Niese didn’t move into Walker’s parent’s home in Pittsburgh, but he did turn up wearing Walker’s former uniform number, 18, in Pittsburgh, making the trade a Reverse Uni Swap. Niese you may have seen, started the other day for the Pirates and was positively Niese-like: 5 innings, 4 earned runs, 7 whiffs, and a no-decision.

Here’s a look at a few other ex-2015 Mets and their new numerical identities:

Daniel Murphy is wearing No. 20 in Washington, where fans say #TheyreWith28 when it comes to outfielder Jayson Werth.

In Milwaukee, Kirk Nieuwenhuis has suited up in No. 10 and Carlos Torres in 59, changes from their respective 9 and 52/72 here. Kirk beat out former teammate Eric Young Jr. for the reserve outfield slot with the Brewers.

Departed heroes of 2015’s famous bench-strength acquisition: Atlanta Brave Kelly Johnson wears No. 24, while Juan Uribe is wearing No. 4 and a skicap with the Indians.

We unfortunately didn’t get deep enough into Kansas City’s bullpen earlier this week to see Dillon Gee, who reverses his customary 35 with the World Champs, wearing 53.

Phinally in Phoenix, irritating short reliever Tyler Clippard wears No. 19. He was 46 last time around in New York.

Scattered rubble of the National League champs including Scott Rice (Arizona), Eric O’Flaherty (Pittsburgh), Wilfredo Tovar (Minnesota), Jack Leathersich (Chicago Cubs), Alex Torres (Atlanta), Anthony Recker (Cleveland), Darrell Ceciliani (Toronto) and Bobby Parnell (Detroit) didn’t crack opening-day rosters.

Welcome home Mets!

 

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Dar-rell

9Word came following last night’s harrowing win that Las Vegas outfielder and longtime personal fave Darrell Ceciliani was recalled and will be active for tonight’s game.

No word officially on who goes down yet but by means of a hint, Darrell is a lefthanded hitter capable of playing all three positions, a pretty good athlete and baserunner with a little bit of power but who strikes out more than you’d like to see, if not at Kirk Niuewenhuis levels.

I feel bad for Niuewy and am sure he has one of those hot streaks contained in his bat but the team can’t keep waiting for it to come around. Hopefully Kirk can avoid a waiver claim and get to work in AAA.

1That thing I said about being a Ceciliani fan is true by the way. I followed his progress through 5 minor league seasons as an adoptive parent at the Crane Pool Forum and know that observers think highly of his no-batting-gloves, all-out playing style. I’ve come to admire how he’s shrugged off a couple of injury-marred, disappointing seasons and 2 winters on the Rule 5 block and is now posting numbers that are almost as good as his promising debut season in Brooklyn all those years ago.

Ceciliani in fact wasn’t even invited to the big-league camp this year, although he made some appearances as a late-inning pinch hitter. At least once — I believe this was last spring training — he showed up wearing 0 but was also seen before wearing 93. At Vegas he wore 11, but carried other numbers in the minors.

If the Mets release or trade Nieuwenhuis I could see Ceciliani turn up in the vacated No. 9 but would agree with the commenters below that No. 1 looks like a good possibility. (Update: This is official!)

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Top of the Order

So there’s Travis d’Arnaud, aka “Shoeless Aud,” wearing his new No. 7 jersey. Could you also see him in a new lineup position?

7Let me begin by saying I’m generally if not wildly optimistic for the Mets chances this year. I like the additions of Cuddyer and Mayberry. I believe that David Wright could still rebound, and I think Wilmer Flores is a bold choice in a year where offense is going to be hard to find. I think a solid starting staff and bullpen might be constructed just from what *doesn’t* make the opening-day roster this year. That’s all very encouraging.

Where I’m concerned is that they don’t really have an ideal leadoff hitter, and I worry especially that they’ll try to shoehorn Juan Lagares into that role. It’s not that I don’t believe Lagares could ever become a leadoff guy (though I have doubts), it’s that given his low walk rates and seeming luck on balls-in-play (he BABIPped at 340 vs. a league average of 300) I’d prefer he demonstrate whatever nascent leadoff skills he possesses as a 7th or 8th place hitter and let someone generally more qualified garner the extra trips and run-building opportunities that come with the role.

I’m not arguing that Travis d’Arnaud should be a leadoff hitter either, but I might be tempted to try him there sooner than I would Lagares. His walk rate is better and BABIP ought to improve, and his superior extra-base power could get us some early leads in road games, which I’d prefer over whatever advantage you might realize from Lagares’ stolen bases. Actually the club would seem to favor Curtis Granderson (or let’s face it, Kirk Nieuwenhuis) leading off, but I can see the argument for getting Grandy’s bat more in the mix off all those middle-of-the-order righties – yet another consequence of the Mets not having gathered in a lefthanded hitting shortstop over the offseason.

Who leads off for your 2015 Mets?

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Prospecting

72Some discussion in the post below raised the practice of dressing young prospects at camp. I was certainly expecting to see Zack Wheeler wearing his preferred 45 but was pleased to see the Mets haven’t granted him that priviledge quite yet. As Gogred points out, Dwight Gooden wore 64 as a spring training invite in 1984 (and again many springs later in an atempt to recapture the feeling. At this time in 2004, David Wright was rocking No. 72 — although Jose Reyes wore 7 during 2003’s spring training. Last year, Matt Harvey was 70 and Kirk Nieuwenhuis was 72. It’s believed that Travis D’Arnaud could be assigned his preferred 15 (I incorrectly said 16, below) but there’s something to be said for reminding the youngsters to have some humility.

We should have the first sightings of unis and/or rosters real soon. Keep an eye out.

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Kirk’s Quirks

The way Kirk Nieuwenhuis has been playing it’s barely a relief today to see that Andres Torres has returned, but the team has adapted well so far so I’m hopeful they can keep it up (and continue to encounter the opposition on their bad days). To make room for the returning Torres, Nieuwenhuis has been shifted over to left field where someone named Jason Bay used to play and double-ear-flapped reserve Zach Lutz was returned to AAA Buffalo.

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Mets Throw Changeup

9In 13 years of chronicling Mets uni numbers I’ve been wrong lots of times but rarely when accompanied by the confidence with which I predicted Kirk Nieuwenhuis would show up in No. 22 I made below. It just seemed like a logical intersection of his minor league digits and current availability. Anyway, if you happen come across an inkling of the significance of No. 9, if there is any, please let me know. I should say by the way I have very little against 9 and think it looks great on an outfielder. The Mets in general look great without the black, don’t they? I don’t mean to get all Howie Rose on you.

In the meantime, I’ve been informed by mbtn reader Jason that bullpen catcher Dave Racianello is back wearing 54, which he’s had for years now. Not sure what that 79 thing was all about.

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Beam Him Up

Now that Andres Torres has evoked memories of Ken Henderson — that of the veteran outfielder acquired in an offseason trade who hurts himself almost immediately — the Mets, short on outfielders to begin with, look to recall Kirk Nieuwenhuis from AAA while Torres rehabs his calf. Again.

Depending on whether the Mets’ seamstresses can fit NIEUWENHUIS on the back of a shirt — at 11 letters, it ties SCHOENEWIES and is one behind all-time leader ISRINGHAUSEN — the Mets will also need to put a number on it. It’s likely that number would be 22, which is not only currently vacant on the Mets’ roster but is also Kirk’s current digits at Buffalo. I have to think the Mets were holding in in reserve for him, especially that he’s on the 40. Welcome to the show, Kirk!

On a related note, how great do those numbers and NOBs look now that they’re free of the cursed black dropshadow? Looking good so far Mets!

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Yo, That’s Fresh

Thanks to Dave Mackey in the post below who pointed out new assignments as per the Mets.com roster. I’ll rap more about these later, but here’s the pertinent info. Hats off to outfielding prospect Kirk Nieuwenhuis, with the highest digits assigned so far.

Of interest: Alex Cora moving to 13 and new catcher Chris Coste taking over 3.

New players in bold. * indicates non-roster invitee.

1 Luis Castillo, 2B

2 Frank Catalonotto*, INF-OF

3 Chris Coste, C

4 Henry Blanco, C

5 David Wright, 3B

6 Nick Evans, OF

7 Jose Reyes, SS

8 vacant

9 Omir Santos, C

10 Andy Green*, INF (was 29 last year)

11 Anderson Hernandez, INF

12 Jeff Francoeur, OF

13 Alex Cora, INF (was 3 last year)

14 Retired

15 Carlos Beltran, OF

16 Angel Pagan, OF

17 Fernando Tatis, INF-OF

18 Ryota Igarashi, P

19 Gary Matthews, OF

20 Howard Johnson, Hitting Coach

21 vacant (was Delgado)

22 Jolbert Cabrera*, INF-OF

23 Chris Carter, INF-OF

24 vacant

25 Pedro Feliciano, P

26 Fernando Martinez, OF

27 Nelson Figueroa, P

28 Daniel Murphy, 1B

29 Tobi Stoner, P

30 Josh Thole, C

31 vacant

32 Arturo Lopez, P

33 John Maine, P

34 Mike Pelfrey, P

35 Jack Egbert, P

36 R.A. Dickey*, P

37 retired

38 Fernando Nieve, P

39 Bobby Parnell, P

40 Eddie Kunz, P

41 retired

42 retired

43 Josh Fogg*, P

44 Jason Bay, OF

45 Kelvim Escobar, P

46 Oliver Perez, P

47 Jay Marshall, P

48 Pat Misch, P

49 Jon Niese, P

50 Sean Green, P

51 Chip Hale, 3rd base Coach

52 Razor Shines, 1st base coach (thanks for the correction)

53 Jerry Manuel, Manager

54 Dave Racaniello, Bullpen Catcher

55 Randy Niemann, Bullpen Coach

56 Dave Jauss, Bench Coach

57 Johan Santana, P

58 vacant

59 vacant

60 vacant

61 Clint Everts, P

62 Jesus Feliciano*, OF

63 Shawn Bowman, INF

64 Elmer Dessens*, P

65 Russ Adams*, INF

66 Mike Hessman*, OF

67 Mike Cervenak*, INF

68 Bobby Livingston*, P

69 vacant

70 Carlos Muniz*, P (was 32 in last appearance with the Mets, 2008)

71 vacant

72 vacant

73 vacant

74 Francisco Pena*, C

75 Francisco Rodriguez, P

76 vacant

77 Eric Niesen*, P

78 Ike Davis*, 1B

79 Ruben Tejeda*, INF

80-89 vacant

90 Travis Blackley*, P

91 Kirk Nieuwenhuis*, OF

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