While the New York Mets' rotation looked strong on paper entering the 2014 season, there were some questions to be answered. One of the biggest questions concerned the health of lefty Jonathon Niese. Niese missed most of spring training with various injury concerns, and he was coming off of a season where he missed time with a partially torn rotator cuff. Niese has managed to put his concerns behind him, and has been stellar over his first four starts.
Niese, who is 1-2 with a 2.45 ERA in his first four starts, has been a rock for the Mets in the rotation. Niese, who already offers tremendous value as the only lefty in the group, has given the Mets a chance to win in each of his outings. Niese hasn't given up more than three runs in any of his starts, and he could have easily won all four of his starts. Niese has a 1-2 record primarily because of poor run support and Jose Valverde blowing a save in one of his starts.
Niese also has the ability to give the Mets solid innings, as he has pitched at least six innings in his last three starts. Niese is only 27, so he should be entering the prime of his career. Niese is also signed to a long term contract, so he should be a valuable piece of the Mets' rotation going forward. A lot of pitchers tend to put it together towards their late 20's, so Niese could provide a massive bargain given his current contract.
Niese was projected to be the ace of the Mets' staff this season, and he has certainly pitched like one over his first four starts. Niese will need to keep up his strong performance if the Mets want to contend for a playoff spot this season. The Mets have gone 11-10 over their first 21 games, a stretch that included difficult series against the Atlanta Braves, St. Louis Cardinals, Los Angeles Angels, Cincinnati Reds, and Washington Nationals. Starting pitching has kept the Mets afloat, and Niese will need to be a big part of that going forward.
Tags: Baseball, Jonathon Niese, MLB, New York, New York Mets