Jonathon Niese: It feels great. This is what I've been working towards my whole life and what I have been dreaming about since I was a kid and all through high school.
Inside Pitch: Did you have any idea that the Mets were interested in you? You had committed to the University of Cincinnati. Are you leaning towards signing now and starting your professional career?
Niese: I knew they had interest in me. We had talked with the Mets before the draft about working out some sort of arrangement before the draft. I knew both of us were fairly interested in each other and it definitely looks like we'll be swinging a deal. Yeah, I'm definitely going pro.
|THE NEXT KAZMIR?: Jonathon Niese struck out 144 batters in 76 innings this past season. (Photo: Defiancecityschools.org)|
Niese: I have a 4-seam fastball that averages 88-91 MPH and it has touched 94 MPH at times. I am really consistent with my fastball. I am able to locate it for strikes all the time. I have a 2-seam fastball that I throw at times, but I've been told that I don't need to throw it as much because my 4-seamer runs so much. I have a 12-6 curveball. That's around 70-73 MPH. I also have a changeup that has some real good late movement to it, going outside. That's about 78-81 MPH. I have been working on a splitter , but I haven't mastered it yet. It is an all-out nasty pitch. When I'm able to master that pitch, it is going to be real good for me.
Inside Pitch: Do you have a favorite team that you root for?
Niese: (laughing) The Mets are right now. I didn't have a favorite team growing up.
Inside PItch: Who would you compare your game to at the Major League level?
Niese: I guess Andy Pettite is the closest comparison that comes to mind. I'd like to develop arm strength like Randy Johnson and be able to throw a little harder. I mean, he throws more of a side-arm than I do. But I guess I'd say Andy Pettite.
Inside Pitch: What were your stats like this past year?
Niese: I went 12-0 with a 0.09 ERA. I gave up four runs all year and only one of them was earned. It was a home run too. I pitched 76 innings and had 144 strikeouts and something like 23 or 24 walks.
Inside Pitch: What is the one thing you'd like to improve as you begin your professional career?
Niese: I guess throwing my curveball for strikes more consistently. I'd say right now that is probably my only weakness. I just can't throw the curve for strikes every time and I'd like to be able to be more consistent with it. Once I learn to master it, I think I'll be doing pretty good.
Inside Pitch: You and the Mets obviously talked quite a bit before the draft. Had they mentioned to you where you might start off?
Niese: Well we have to get the contract stuff squared away. We're talking about a second round money type of deal. But once that's done, we talked about possibly starting off in Florida [Gulf Coast League] and then possibly going to Brooklyn. That's where I'd like to pitch. I can't wait to get to New York. I have heard a bunch of great things about playing for the Cyclones.
InsidePitchMagazine.com would like to thank Jonathon Niese for taking the time to answer our questions and we wish him the best of luck as he begins his career with the New York Mets.