|Photo by Michael Baron|
“Is he a prototypical center fielder, one of those guys who can really run like mad? Probably not like that. But he’s such a workaholic that he reminds me a little bit, although Jim Edmonds was left-handed [throwing], of Jim Edmonds -- a guy who was a little click above average runner, but yet no fear, great angles, can go after any ball. If he gets to be like that, yeah, he can play center field in the big leagues.” source ESPN NY
Edmonds was 23y/o when he came up for the first time in 1993 but that was only 18 games, the very next year he would rank 8th in the voting for rookie of the year. Prior to that he spent portions of two seasons in AAA in 145 games he hit .309/ .368 OBP / .491 Slg. and .859 OPS. Prior to that in a season at AA he hit .313/ .413 / .488 Slg. and .901 OPS. The seventh round pick went on to four All-Star appearances, eight gold gloves and a silver slugger, along with Rob Neyer ranking him #11 on the all decade team.
At the same age as Edmonds (21 y/o) Kirk had very similar AA numbers .298/ .348 OBP / .521 Slg. and .869 OPS. Nieuwenhuis struggled in his first exposure to AAA but that was only 83games and some of his offensive numbers can be attributed to injuries ( .269/.363/.448/.811). Nieuwenhuis isn't coming out of nowhere he was a third round pick and currently sits at #11 on the Mets top 20 list.
While I know Collins was comparing them because they are both big with solid power for a center fielder, they do seem to have similar paths at least to the majors. Kirk has time at the start of the season to bring up his AAA numbers while if he makes the majors he will be doing so at the same age as Edmond's. Regardless of what Collins drew the comparison from in reading quotes from Collins about Edmond's it would seem to be high praise...
"People said, 'Oh, he's going to be a clubhouse leader,' " Collins said. "What? For some guys, maybe. I don't think you can get Darrin Erstad to play any harder. Jim Edmonds can't crash into more walls. source Daily News
Edmonds carries himself like he was meant to do this. Former manager Terry Collins called it a "gait of confidence." source Baseball Digest