Well, it was a nice run.
OK, not really. The Mets finally ended the Rick Ankiel experiment today, demoting him after a dreadful two weeks. Ankiel has been struggling at the plate the entire season, but has recently began striking out at a ridiculous rate, striking out three times in four at-bats today. It looks like the 33 year-old is finally done. And after hitting under .230 over the past three seasons, it’s not much of a surprise. The signing of Ankiel was another desperate move by Sandy Alderson, trying to make something out of nothing with presumably very little money to work with right now.
In Ankiel’s place comes the red-hot Kirk Nieuwenhuis, who, despite batting around .230, has been on a tremendous home run pace. He already has ten after just 36 games with Las Vegas. That’s 36 home runs stretched out to 130 games. That’s iimpressive for Nieuwenhuis, even when you take into account the hitter-friendly Cashman Field. However, the only thing he may be useful for right now is a power hitter off the bench. Looking deeper into his numbers, you see a huge disparity between his home and away numbers, much bigger than usual. He is batting .293/.376/.587 at home with six home runs, compared to .157/.286/.337 on the road, even in some of the other hitter-friendly ballparks in the Pacific Coast League. So while the power numbers (or at least the home run numbers) are impressive), late-game power and defense may be all Nieuwenhuis can provide.