There is a common misconception on what is deemed as valuable to some fans of a rebuilding team such as the Milwaukee Brewers. There are players that prove their worth in different ways. One of those players is Brewers backup outfielder, Kirk Nieuwenhuis.
Kirk Nieuwenhuis has helped the Brewers off the bench for two years now. Having a capable backup outfielder is a very important position on any Major League team, as it allows your regulars to rest up and stay healthy.
When it comes to Nieuwenhuis he has talents that only a handful of Major Leaguers possess. Even though his offense is less than be desirable, he has a quality that makes him more valuable than some would come to realize.
He can play every outfield positions with exceptional defense. Since he made his debut in 2012 he has only committed sixteen total errors in his career. That is a remarkable stat for a player with as many innings under his belt as Nieuwenhuis.
With his glove in 2016, he had a .980 fielding percentage or better at every position he played. He racked up a total of sixteen assists. These are borderline gold glove numbers, and he often plays much less than most elite defenders. Numbers like Nieuwenhuis’ make him a great asset on any team rebuilding or a team in dynasty mode.
While Nieuwenhuis is not a great hitter by any stretch of the imagination, he did see his most successful season at the plate in 2016 when he batted .209/.324./.385. He also saw career highs in home runs, RBIs and hits. This was obviously due to him appearing in 125 games, but still, he is a versatile bat off of the bench.
When he gets into the lineup at Miller Park, he shows his real value. Niewenhuis posted a 290/.397/.556 slash line at home, while belting 11 home runs in the process.
He’s also shown quality against divisional rivals. When he played for the Milwaukee Brewers against the Chicago Cubs, he was ridiculously good in 2016. He battered the Cubs to the tune of a .333/.472/.762 slash line, five home runs, 10 RBIs and 14 hits in 23 at bats. If that is not enough to get on a Brewers fans good side, I don’t know what is.
We all know that Captain Kirk is not a future piece to this ongoing rebuild, but where the Brewers are at now, the idea of him patrolling the outfield, saving runs and helping give our regulars a breather every once in a while makes a lot of sense for our developing roster.