published by Keith Gendron
Could 2014 be the season Jonathon Niese can put a full season together? Health has been an issue since he has been a major leaguer, making 30 starts twice, in his four-plus seasons. He is yet to reach the 200 inning mark because of his inability to be efficient enough and remain healthy from April to October. But, If the Mets have aspirations of surprising anyone this year, Niese HAS to be there from beginning to end. This along with putting faith that some position players can find their way back to being productive players they were not too long ago.
Niese has pitched to a slightly better than .500 record during his young Met career at 43-40 and a 3.99 era. This is considered an accomplishment actually, since the Mets haven’t been a .500 or better team since 2008. And, although the Mets have many young power arms in waiting, they are still unproven. Niese is the only southpaw starter they have and at 27 years old and minus Matt Harvey, the time is now for him to lead the staff. He pitched his first opening day last year, pitching into the 7th inning and recording the win in a 11-2 defeat of the Padres. He is considered, along with Bartolo Colon to be handed the ball for March 31 against the Nats this year at Citifield.
Niese struggled mightily the first half of last year going 3-6 with a 4.32 era. He had a WHIP of 1.610 and a SO/BB ratio of a lame 1.48, but after rest and shoulder strengthening was able to bounce back and pitch solidly in the second half, covering 10 starts going 5-2 with a 3.00 era, including a shutout. His WHIP dropped to a 1.242 and his SO/BB ratio jumped to more than double his first half at 3.73.
Yes, ALOT has to go WRIGHT…excuse me, right, for the Mets to even sniff a possibility for the wildcard this year. But as the organization has committed to pitching as the way to get back to respectability and to put themselves back into the post-season mix for years to come, at least this year on the mound it begins with Niese.