Jon Niese: Boom or Bust?

An article by posted on July 25, 2009

When Jonathon Niese takes the mound later tonight, many will be watching and wondering exactly which Jon Niese will show up.

2008

Jon Niese made his major league debut with disastrous results. In three innings pitched, he allowed five runs on seven hits and four walks. Ouch!

But in his very next start he wowed us with an eight inning gem. He allowed no runs on just six hits and struck out seven as the mets defeated the Braves 1-0.

2009

Will he be the pitcher who threw six solid innings, allowed two runs, walked none and struck out five in his first of two stars this season, or will he be the pitcher who lasted just 4.2 innings and gave up five runs on seven hits and two walks? He had a 5.91 ERA before he was sent back down.

This season, while playing for Class-AAA Buffalo, Niese has also been two very different pitchers. In his first eight starts he had a 7.91 ERA and was on the verge of being demoted to Class-AA. In last eight starts he has been one of the best pitchers in the league and has a 0.72 ERA in that span. For the year his ERA stands at 3.82 and he has improved his record to 5-6 after losing his first six decisions.

So which Niese will it be?

He has certainly merited this promotion and win or lose, the Mets need to keep him up for the rest of the season. Mostly because we have to make a determination and see if he will be part of our rotation in 2010.

It’s perfect timing for Niese who is absolutely sizzling in July and the Mets could surely benefit from a starter who they can plug into the rotation and give the team a jolt. I’m not saying he will keep pitching at the same level as he has the last two months, that would be an unrealistic approach. But he certainly can soften the blow of the recent John Maine setback and should prove to be a better option than Livan Hernandez or Tim Redding.

Jerry Manuel seems hopeful,

“I think what we have to do is pitch well and hope we get on a real good hot streak,” Mets manager Jerry Manuel said, relaying his hardly secret formula. “If we can continue to do that — a hit here or there — then we can give ourselves a chance to win some games. That’s the optimism that I have.”

Niese has seen his stock fall significantly in the last two years. He has been passed up by Brad Holt and Jenrry Mejia as the Mets best pitching prospects and he may even be ranked below a few others. However, timing is everything and Niese couldn’t have picked a better time to get hot.

Boom or bust? For the short term, I’m thinking boom.

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