It has been an odd year for New York Mets starting pitcher Jon Niese, who has had a few injuries to deal with over the course of the season. Over his last four starts, it finally looks like he is out of his funk. He has pitched a lot better, and the Mets need him to continue to put together quality starts.
Niese was very solid against the Atlanta Braves, going 7.1 innings and allowing three runs on nine hits while striking out five. This is now his third quality start out of his last four, and it looks like he has found his form once again on the mound. Despite taking the loss, the Mets have to be happy that he is back on track. There was a span of four starts when Niese first came off the DL where he was just getting knocked around. He wasn’t locating his pitches and didn’t look good out there at all. I thought that he might have still been dealing with an injury, but that just doesn’t seem to be the case.
On the season, Niese is now 7-10 with a 3.48 ERA over his 25 starts. For the most part, he has kept the Mets in ball games, which is evident by his ERA. His record is not where he would want it to be, but his rough four-start stretch has a lot to do with that. He came off the DL on July 21. In his first four starts coming off the DL, he went 0-4 and he was extremely ineffective.
If Niese can finish off the year strong, he can build momentum going into 2015, which the Mets have high hopes for. Another reason why the Mets need him to finish up strong is that much like Dillon Gee, Niese might be a potential trade chip this offseason. Personally, I would not deal Niese as he a very good pitcher in this league, and lefties are hard to come by. The Mets would benefit from having Niese on their roster next year because it seems he is a solid No. 2-3 starter on a good team. Another reason why I like Niese is that he has a team-friendly contract and is locked up for the next couple of years.
The Mets will be in the trade market his offseason, and you better believe that teams will be interested in the lefty. They need to acquire an established hitter, and it might cost them an arm like Niese. If he finishes the year up strong, it’ll only raise his stock and make him an even more valuable trade piece.
When Niese finds his groove he can be very tough to hit for the opposition. Hopefully, Mets fans will only see good things from him as we enter the last month of the season.