In a season in which the New York Mets have virtually no weapons in their lineup, the pitching — specifically the starting rotation — is keeping them in Wild Card contention. With that in mind, rotation ace Jonathon Niese is the most worthy Met for All-Star consideration.
In 12 starts, Niese has a 2.68 ERA and has not allowed more than three earned runs in a single start. The seventh-year lefty has pitched a quality outing in nine out of those 12 starts. In two of the three non-quality outings, Niese only allowed two earned runs in 5.2 innings pitched. Technically, the only lousy start he had was four-inning performance in which allowed five runs (only three earned) on eight hits against the Washington Nationals. In part due to Niese’s solid performances this season, the offense-lacking Mets are only five games behind the Atlanta Braves in the NL East division race and four games behind their division rivals, the Miami Marlins and Nationals in the NL Wild Card race.
Unfortunately, Niese is not the “sexiest” pitcher in the National League — looks-wise or pitching-wise. Niese is not a big strikeout pitcher as he has only averaged 4.5 strikeouts per start and 6.28 K/9 in 2014. In addition to his lack of strikeouts, Niese has been gypped out of several wins this season due to a complete lack of run support — giving him a disappointing 3-3 record for the season. Additionally, Niese does not rank in the top five of any of the major pitching statistics for National League starters. However, the fact that Niese has been consistently effective so far this season has proved that he’s the rock this Mets rotation needed after losing Matt Harvey for the entire season and Dillion Gee indefinitely.
Whether National League All-Star manager Mike Matheny recognizes Niese’s consistency and reliability while selecting his pitching staff remains to be seen.