New York Mets rookie Kirk Nieuwenhuis -- say it three times fast -- is making a name for himself in New York, even if most people can't say or spell his name correctly.
The Mets completed a three-game sweep of the Miami Marlins with a 3-2 victory on Thursday, April 26, as the rookie outfielder knocked in the game-winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning. His booming, bases loaded single over the head of right fielder Giancarlo Stanton completed a two-run comeback off Marlins' closer Heath Bell, as the Mets improved to 11-8.
Prior to the start of the season, Nieuwenhuis didn't even crack the top 10 Mets prospects list on MLB.com. But currently he is where the 10 players who were in front of him on that list are not -- in the Major Leagues. Nieuwenhuis, who was summoned to the big club to replace an injured Andres Torres, has made the most of his opportunity. The lefty-swinging outfielder is batting .333 with three home runs and five RBI. Furthermore, he has hit safely in 11 of 13 games since April 13 with a .354 averaging in that span.
Nieuwenhuis set the tone for the three-game series by robbing Miami lead-off hitter and former Mets spark-plug Jose Reyes of extra bases with a running catch in the first inning of the first game. Ironically, Nieuwenhuis, who led off Thursday's game with a triple and later scored, has spelled Reyes atop the Mets' batting order. Incidentally, Reyes went a combined 1-for-12 in his first three games against New York since leaving as a free agent. Nieuwenhuis won't ever be Reyes, but he sure does look like a keeper.
So remember his name, even if you can't spell it.
Adam Martini is a freelance sportswriter who grew up in Queens, N.Y. with a view of Shea Stadium from his bedroom window. He spent many nights in the upper deck at Shea rooting for the Mets. Follow Adam and the Mets on Twitter @PegCitySports.