The New York Mets have officially announced that 26-year-old Jonathan Niese will start for them on Opening Day. This comes as a result of the announcement earlier this week that the team’s ace, Johan Santana, would not be able to start the Mets first game. While Santana’s continual injuries are frustrating, Niese is a more than suitable option for Opening Day.
Niese is coming off his best season in MLB, in which he went 13-9 with a 3.40 ERA. While those numbers are not staggering, Niese finished the season 3-1 with a 2.49 ERA in his last four starts, proving he is a legitimate starter in the league. The young pitcher has picked up where he left off last season this spring, as he has gone 1-0 with an impressive 0.71 ERA in three starts.
While it would be great to see Santana pitch what will likely be his last Opening Day in New York, who knows which Santana the fans would see. The dominant Cy Young Award winning Santana from the Minnesota Twins is long gone. There’s the Santana who gave the Mets their first ever no-hitter last season. However, in his last few seasons with the team the often injured and inconsistent Santana has been the most featured of the three.
Niese is not a big name like Santana, but he could be the team’s best pitcher this season. It is tough to predict how Santana will be coming off an injury if and when he pitches this season. With Niese at the top of their rotation the Mets will know what they are getting, a solid starter who could be headed for a breakout season.