Jonathan Niese is an interesting pitcher to look at. Given the other names currently starting games for the Mets, he appears entrenched in the rotation as long as he stays healthy. The fact is, there is no reason for the Mets to look anywhere else given his performance this season:
39 Strikeouts (7.3 K/9)
19 Walks (3.5 BB/9)
His skill set actually looks like one that should be successful in the major leagues, especially pitching in CitiField.
First of all, he does a good job of generating groundballs. Thus far this season he has a groundball rate of 50.6% and over his minor league career it is at 51.8%. While it’s not one of the elite marks in the game (Tim Hudson is currently at 66.7%), it is an extremely solid one.
When you factor in the ballpark, if you can generate this type of groundball rate you should see success.
Like the groundball rate, the strikeouts are not overly impressive, but solid just the same. Is he going to buoy your squad in the category? Not even close, but he’s not someone who is only going to strikeout three or four guys every time he toes the rubber.
Over his minor league career he posted a K/9 of 8.2. At Triple-A the past two years he was at 7.3 (39.2 innings) and 7.8 (94.1 innings). While there may be a little bit of upside, this is what we should expect at this point.
Like the other numbers, the control is solid though unspectacular. In his minor league career he posted a BB/9 of 3.1, so again, his numbers thus far this season are right around where we’d think they’d be.
In other words, Niese is pitching like a very usable pitcher, he’s just been plagued by terrible luck in the early going. If his BABIP were to regress to .303 with everything else being equal, his WHIP would be a usable 1.35. His ERA, in turn, would also regress to under 4.00 and we’d be discussing a pitcher who is usable in all formats.
Is he going to be an ace? Is he going to be a must own option? Absolutely not, but with improved luck he will be a solid option in all deeper formats. If you are in need of some pitching depth, he certainly is worth grabbing.
What are your thoughts on Niese? Is he a usable option? How good do you think he could be?
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