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Mets Minor League Blog's Toby Hyde feels Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler and Brandon Nimmo all saw their respective stocks climb last year, while Jeurys Familia and Kirk Nieuwenhuis took small steps backward.

In regards to Nieuwenhuis, Hyde writes:

"The 25-year old played an OK centerfield... but his secondary skills disappeared and the strikeouts ate his batting average. He fanned in 31% of his MLB plate appearances. Moreover, his extra-base hit rate dropped from 11.3 in Triple-A in 2011 to just 6.3 in 2012, while his walk rate plummeted. ... He did not hit lefties at all... while doing OK against righties."

Nieuwenhuis hit .252 with a .329 OBP with 7 HR, 12 doubles, and 28 RBI in 314 plate appearances for the Mets last season.

The Mets are still in the market for an outfielder, either by trade or through free agency. However, at this point in the winter, with so few meaningful options available in either market, I fear there is a really, really good chance that Nieuwenhuis and Collin Cowgill are splitting time in center field during the first month of the regular season... just as I think there is a good chance Scott Hairston, Lucas Duda and Mike Baxter might rotate around the corners... again. I wouldn't be surprised to see Alderson also sign a guy like Ryan Rayburn, as well, to throw him in the mix this spring along with Andrew Brown. Yep, I'm thinking the outfield competition this March is going to be like an American Idol audition...

As far as Nieuwenhuis, he and Cowgill actually compliment one another well, just as Hairston and Baxter do for one another. But, neither is a long-term solution, nor is this going to have a major impact on the team's power and offensive production. Basically, it's more of the same...

To read Toby's thoughts on Harvey, Wheeler, Nimmo and Familia, check out his post here.

Tags: MetsBlog , Matthew Cerrone
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