It was nice to see Jon Niese get some recognition in the New York Post today, who named him the Mets MVP for the month of April. His only competition as I saw it was Dillon Gee who also turned in a superb first month of the season. Mike Puma writes:
In each of his five April starts, Niese worked into the sixth inning and allowed three runs or less. That included three straight starts to conclude the month in which he allowed only one run. Overall, he is 2-2 with a 2.20 ERA.The Mets couldn’t have asked for a better start to the season by the left-hander, who had his spring training curtailed by arm soreness that twice necessitated an MRI exam.
When I think back to Spring Training and Niese flying to New York once for an MRI on his left shoulder, and then again for an MRI on his left elbow, it’s amazing to see how far Niese has come along since then. I must admit I had my doubts when the Mets lefty began the season on the DL.
“It was tough to work through it but I’m glad I did it,” Niese said. “I took my time. I didn’t try and be a hero and rush to be an Opening Day starter. I took my time and made sure I was ready. And that’s worked out.
“I put my ego to the side. I wanted to get my arm right now. This year I want to go through the whole year and stay healthy.”
Since coming off the disabled list, Niese has pitched better than anyone could have imagined. Both his ERA and 1.04 WHIP are career bests.
Now in his fifth full season season in the rotation, you tend to forget that he’s still only 27-years old.
His name often comes up as a potential trade chip in the Mets blogosphere, but given the lack of any other capable lefthanders in our system – that could replace him in the rotation this season – I’m not so sure that would be a good idea. Especially with the team playing winning baseball for the first time in six seasons and fueled mostly by the strength of their starting pitching.