Niese Will Be Important
By any measure, Jon Niese was a disappointment in 2015. Maybe it was having a new child. Those sleepless nights wreck havoc in everything you do. It may explain Niese being more ornery than usual. In any event, Niese should be back as the team’s fifth starter to at least start the year.
For his career, Niese is 61-61 with a 3.91 ERA, 3.84 FIP, 1.361 WHIP, and a 7.0 K/9. Righties have hit .274/.332/.444. Lefties have hit .266/.328/.400. Anyway you slice or dice it, he’s a fifth starter. That’s fine. They will need a fifth starter until June or July when Zack Wheeler should be ready to come back.
That’s when Niese can move to the bullpen, which is a role he really excelled in during the postseason. He only got touched up in Game 2 of the World Series. He shouldn’t have pitched that night. Terry Collins unnecessarily used him for a second inning after pitching two innings the previous night. Even with that game, Niese had a 1.125 WHIP and a 10.1 K/9.
It’s a small sample size for sure, but he’s proven he can excel in the bullpen. Depending on the state of the Mets bullpen, he can become a LOOGY, 7th or 8th inning guy, or the long man. The possibilities are endless. It’s an incredible weapon to have in the bullpen in August and September when playoff spots are on the line.
Last year, Niese gave a glimpse into what he could be in 2016. He showed he will do what the team needs to win. I expect he will be even better in that role in 2016.
He will be an important player next year.