Frankly, I didn’t think Jon Niese would ever become the pitcher that he was last season. I was convinced high OBAs would plague him for most of his career, and even if his high BABIP eventually corrected itself, that would still leave us with a pitcher whose ERA would sit in the 3.75-4.00 range with a WHIP over 1.30.
Well, I can admit when I was wrong, and I was wrong about Niese. Last year he turned in an impressive season, the most impressive part of which was the drastic improvement in WHIP. Of course, his BABIP probably over-corrected itself (down to .272), but even some regression there leaves Niese with a likely WHIP around 1.25.
And all of a sudden he’s the anchor of the Mets pitching staff. Johan Santana is a perennial injury risk, Dillon Gee is solid-but-unspectacular, and Matt Harvey and Jenrry Mejia still need to prove themselves (though I’m very high on Harvey). New York is going to rely on Niese a lot in 2013, and he’s going to have another very good season.
At a Glance
- Strengths: IP, QS
- Neutral: W, L, K, K/9, ERA, WHIP
- Weaknesses: none
- Best-case scenario: Jarrod Parker (OAK)
- Likely scenario: Ryan Vogelsong (SF), Josh Beckett (LAD), Brett Anderson (OAK)
- Worst-case scenario: Gavin Floyd (CHW)
Jon Niese 2013 Fantasy Projection
The Mets have a lot of question marks on offense with their 2-3-4 trio of Daniel Murphy-David Wright-Ike Davis really the only proven everyday players in the lineup. Despite the fact that Niese should be around 200 innings, he’s probably not a threat to win more than 12-14 games, and he’ll likely suffer a fair amount of tough losses, too. That affects his value in leagues that count losses.
In leagues that count QS, Niese gets a little boost. His FIPs have been very good these last two years, and assuming he turns in a similar season in 2013, he should pitch a good number of above average innings. That’s a good recipe for plenty of quality starts.
Unfortunately, Niese’s minor league track record and three full seasons in the majors indicate that he is what he is when it comes to the K: a mid-7.00s guy who’s probably a good bet for 160-170 and no more (that is, unless he changes something in the way he pitches).