Top 12 prospects for 2012: #7-8

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Welcome to the third installment of the UpAlongFirst.com official prospect list. Here are numbers seven and eight.

7. Reese Havens-  INF

HEIGHT: 6’1”

WEIGHT: 195

THROWS: R         BATS: L

BORN: 10/20/1986

COLLEGE: University of South Carolina

ACQUIRED: 22nd pick (1st round) of 2008 Draft

It has always been about injuries for Havens. Ever since being drafted out of South Carolina, Havens has failed to play a full season. With less than 800 pro at-bats, Havens is far behind on experience in the minors and at 25, he only has so much time left. However, there is a reason why Havens is on this list. Havens has a smooth, natural swing. His bat naturally generates power, as well as hits to the gap, making him an all-around hitter. In his third season in the minors, Havens hasn’t really given fans a major glimpse of what could be coming. None of the numbers stick out at you, but when you see his swing, it just looks like the swing of a big league hitter. Let’s take a look at a video of him by Toby Hyde:


As you can see, his swing is golden. This is what makes him so high on the list because if he didn’t have this characteristic, he would already be in the washed-up, injury-ridden category. There is something there, he just has to stay healthy and earn the experience needed to show it.

On the diamond, things have gotten more and more promising for Havens. After playing below average at shortstop for most of his career, the Mets moved Havens to second, where he has played extremely well when taking into account his lack of experience at the position.

I mentioned Havens’s unspectacular numbers. Here they are:

Year Tm Lg Lev G PA 2B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG
2008 Brooklyn NYPL A- 23 97 6 3 11 3 1 11 27 .247 .340 .471
2009 St. Lucie FLOR A+ 97 430 19 14 52 3 2 55 73 .247 .361 .422
2010 2 Teams 2 Lgs AA-A+ 32 140 4 9 19 0 3 14 33 .312 .386 .592
2010 St. Lucie FLOR A+ 14 65 2 3 7 0 1 8 18 .281 .369 .509
2010 Binghamton EL AA 18 75 2 6 12 0 2 6 15 .338 .400 .662
2011 2 Teams 2 Lgs AA-A+ 61 255 17 6 28 2 0 29 64 .288 .373 .455
2011 St. Lucie FLOR A+ 3 13 2 0 2 0 0 2 5 .273 .385 .455
2011 Binghamton EL AA 58 242 15 6 26 2 0 27 59 .289 .372 .455
4 Seasons 213 922 46 32 110 8 6 109 197 .269 .366 .463
A+ (3 seasons) A+ 114 508 23 17 61 3 3 65 96 .252 .363 .435
AA (2 seasons) AA 76 317 17 12 38 2 2 33 74 .301 .379 .505
A- (1 season) A- 23 97 6 3 11 3 1 11 27 .247 .340 .471

Hopefully, Havens will be able to stay on the field this year. This will be a key year for him tha could make or break his career. If he stays healthy, he could earn significant time in Buffalo, and maybe even a September call-up in New York. If not… well there may not be another chance for Havens to step up and show what all this buzz was really about.

8. Kirk Nieuwenhuis-  OF

HEIGHT: 6’3”

WEIGHT: 215

THROWS: R         BATS: L

BORN: 8/7/1987

COLLEGE: none

ACQUIRED: 100th pick (3rd round) of 2008 Draft

Kirk Nieuwenhuis 2

(Photo Courtesy of Michael Baron)

Nieuwenhuis is the definition of a five-tooled player as Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com described last year:

“Sometimes the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Nieuwenhuis can do a little bit of everything on the field — he’ll hit for average, he has a bit of power and he has a little speed — but none of the tools will jump out at you. He plays the game the right way, and his effort helps him maximize his abilities on the field. Nieuwenhuis is just about ready to help out in New York, and he’ll head to Triple-A — waiting for that call. “

Kirk is a big, strong athlete who is not only well-rounded at the plate, but also in the field. He has a big of speed, as well as potential for power at the big league level. Down in the minors, he is stealing about 15 bases per season, as well as hitting 15-20 homers. Here are his numbers:

Year Tm Lg Lev G PA H 2B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG
2008 Brooklyn NYPL A- 74 319 79 15 3 29 11 7 29 70 .277 .348 .396
2009 2 Teams 2 Lgs A+-AA 131 583 145 38 17 73 17 5 57 127 .282 .364 .479
2009 St. Lucie FLOR A+ 123 547 132 35 16 71 16 4 53 118 .274 .357 .467
2009 Binghamton EL AA 8 36 13 3 1 2 1 1 4 9 .406 .472 .656
2010 2 Teams 2 Lgs AA-AAA 124 566 141 43 18 77 13 7 41 132 .274 .327 .475
2010 Binghamton EL AA 94 433 114 35 16 60 13 7 30 93 .289 .337 .510
2010 Buffalo IL AAA 30 133 27 8 2 17 0 0 11 39 .225 .295 .358
2011 Buffalo IL AAA 53 221 56 17 6 14 5 2 32 59 .298 .403 .505
4 Seasons 382 1689 421 113 44 193 46 21 159 388 .280 .354 .465
AA (2 seasons) AA 102 469 127 38 17 62 14 8 34 102 .298 .348 .521
AAA (2 seasons) AAA 83 354 83 25 8 31 5 2 43 98 .269 .363 .448
A- (1 season) A- 74 319 79 15 3 29 11 7 29 70 .277 .348 .396
A+ (1 season) A+ 123 547 132 35 16 71 16 4 53 118 .274 .357 .467
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/26/2012.

In the field, Kirk is a stud. He isn’t one of the top minor leaguers as far as speed is concerned, (although he can steal a few bases) but he has a very good range in center field. He can really accelerate out there, which will likely keep him at the center field position for his career. He also has a nice arm in center.

At the plate, he continues to develop. As I mentioned earlier, he can hit for power, along with his decent batting average. I can definitely see Nieuwenhuis as a 20-25 home run hitter in his career, much like Lucas Duda. But unlike Duda, he can package his speed as well as talent with the glove to become a Hunter Pence-like player.

The list so far (click to view posts):

7. Reese Havens

8. Kirk Nieuwenhuis

9. Cesar Puello

10.Darin Gorski

11.Michael Fulmer

12.Cory Vaughn

Come back on Monday for numbers five and six!

About Connor O'Brien
I'm a 16 year-old blogger, high school student, and lifelong Mets fan. I've been blogging about the Mets in some form or another for about four years. I embrace the new age, sabermetric way of thinking, but also recognize the importance of scouting and player devlopment.

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