Jonathon Niese - #49
23 years old
3rd major league season (8 games)
6'4" 215 pounds
Bats L/ Throws L
The Good: His signature pitch is his 12-6 curve-ball, which scouts rate as "plus-plus"; fastball is in the low 90s, and he also features an average change-up. Added a cutter to the repertoire last year, which has average velocity but late movement. He pounds the strike zone (except with his curve-ball, which often misses low). He is a ground-ball pitcher. Had started to develop confidence and poise during his stint with the Mets in July, but he avulsed his hamstring (tore the muscle right off the bone) in August. He looked very comfortable running and fielding his position when I saw him early in Spring Training (not favoring his hamstring at all). He projects to be an eventual #3/4 starter. Rates between the #3 and #5 on Mets' prospects list.
The Bad: One of the only pitchers ever to have his hamstring reattached to the bone, so there are no comps for his recovery (which looks to be complete). Had inconsistent mechanics at the beginning of last year and had allowed 34 runs in less than 32 innings in his first seven starts in AAA last year. Stats for his 5 starts in the big league club in 2009: 25 2/3 innings, 27 hits, 9 walks, 18 ks, 1.40 WHIP, 4.21 ERA.
Projected Role: Niese was drafted in the seventh round back in 2005. He is penciled in as the 5th starter. Most scouts feel that he isn't going to get any better than this, but I am a little more optimistic since he is still only 23 years old.
My Projected Stats: 140 innings, 4.35 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 110 Ks, 45 walks.