December 6, 2013

Niese Must Make This His Breakout Season

Jonathon Niese, the 2013 Opening Day starter and pre-Matt Harvey staff ace, will be coming back in 2014 from a middling season marked by injury and ineffectiveness at times. Although he was able to cobble together an 8-8 record on the 24 starts he made, he threw for under 150 innings and had an ERA of 3.71. There were flashes of the pitcher many hoped Niese would be this year, a solid front of the rotation pitcher if not a true ace.

As do most Met pitchers, his .500 record could have been improved upon if he had been provided some better run support. His walk-to-strikeout ratio (48-105) remained strong, as it has throughout his career. He also made strides in his problem of allowing home runs, cutting his average from one per nine innings down to 0.6 through each nine frames, nearly in half. 

Photo by Michael Baron

I like Jonathon Niese, I really do. But he needs to have a breakout season, especially with Harvey on the shelf for the year. Wheeler has progressed, but is not yet an ace, and Niese will need to be the backbone and stopper in this rotation. I know that the team has some major improvements they need to make if they are going to be a threat to .500, let alone the playoffs, but I'd like to see Niese put up a big year, at least surpassing his career high of 13 wins. For all of his talent and promise, I think Met fans want to feel a sense of confidence when he takes the mound. If we look to Matt Harvey to be the Tom Seaver for this generation of Mets, than it stands to reason that Niese could transform into our Koosman, a lefty follow-up to the dominant righty ace, quietly putting together one terrific season after another in his shadow.

No comments:

Post a Comment