Mets Scouting Report: LHP Jonathon Niese

The New York Mets drafted left-handed pitcher Jonathon Niese in the 7th round of the 2005 MLB Draft out of Defiance High School in Ohio. Niese had a solid year for his first taste of the long-season leagues and while he believes he can do better, he realizes he is just in the developmental phase of his career. Here's a scouting report on Jonathon Niese.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Jonathon Niese
Position: Starting Pitcher
DOB: October 27, 1986
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 190
Bats: Left
Throws: Left

Jonathon Niese celebrated his 20th birthday on October 27, as most Mets fans were mourning the fact that the anniversary of their last World Championship would remain unchanged for at least one more season.

Niese, who was born on the same day that Jesse Orosco flung his leather glove toward the heavens and was enveloped in a pile on Shea Stadium's infield, is hopeful that he'll be able to play some part in making the Mets' next great historical moment.

A left-hander who earned selection as a two-time Ohio high school player of the year before being selected by the Mets in the seventh round of the 2005 draft, Niese pitched the majority of the season with Class-A Hagerstown of the South Atlantic League, making 25 starts.

He went 11-9 with a 3.93 ERA and one complete game – a three-hit shutout on July 19 at Lexington – while logging 123 innings, striking out 132 and walking 62 before earning a two-start promotion to Class-A St. Lucie of the Florida State League.

Though he was one of Hagerstown's most reliable pitchers and, likely, their ace, the long season took its toll on Niese. The Mets began cutting Niese's innings in August, as he was pulled after three innings twice while pitching for the Suns.

"He started off really well, and I think he got a little tired toward the end – which I think is to be expected," said Drew Butera, who caught Niese at Hagerstown.

"He went to the Gulf Coast (League) from high school, and this was his first full year. He has fantastic stuff, as he showed when he was fresh in the beginning."

Good results are not unfamiliar to Niese. In his senior year at Defiance High School in Ohio, Niese went a perfect 12-0 with a near-perfect 0.09 ERA, blowing hitters away primarily by using a mid-90s fastball with good movement.

He saw subtle differences early in the South Atlantic League – small things like, say, earned runs crossing the plate. But Niese continued to rise to the challenges, earning raves within the organization for his competitiveness.

"In high school, I think a lot of guys are afraid," Niese said. "These (professional hitters) will stand right in there, and it doesn't matter how hard you throw. With pros, they're going to hit you. That's why, when I turned pro, I realized I can't go by the velocity of my fastball anymore. I've got to go with my changeup and curveball and mix it up a lot."

Niese often does not have to worry about commanding his fastball, though it can blip up as a problem at times. Most times, though, Niese will use his fastball to set up a developing change-up that features good late movement and a sweeping 12-to-6 curveball.

"I know we worked on his changeup, because it's gotten a lot better," Butera said. "That curve is dynamite. It puts hitters away and he can put it where he wants to at any time. It was fun to use that in counts which aren't usually off-speed counts."

After fanning 144 in 76 high school innings in 2005, Niese struck out 132 in 124 professional innings last season. As his off-speed pitches continue to develop, those numbers could rise.

"Foul balls and deep counts; that's professional baseball," Niese said. "Something I'll need to work on is a putout pitch that's going to get them out, that they're not going to foul off. I'm still learning and working. I'm in the development phase of my career."

Year

Team

W-L

IP

Hits

BB

K

ERA

2006

St. Lucie

0-2

10.0

8

5

10

4.50

2006

Hagerstown

11-9

123.2

121

62

132

3.93

2005

GCL

1-0

24.2

23

10

24

3.65



Repertoire. Fastball, Curveball, Changeup.

Fastball. Niese throws mostly four-seam fastballs in the 88-91 MPH range, topping off at 92 MPH last season. While he isn't the hardest thrower around, he gets good movement with his fastball and he has improved his command of his heater since signing with the Mets.

Other Pitches. Niese's best pitch is his curveball and it serves as his out-pitch. He began throwing it more over the top in 2006 to improve the consistency in his command with it. He actually throws two different curveballs, one that is more of a get over pitch and another one that he throws with a sharper break that he uses as his strikeout pitch. Where he improved the most last season was the further development of his changeup, a pitch he tries to use early in the count to get contact. His changeup was like night and day by the end of the year and changing grips was a big reason why.

Pitching. Niese has changed his philosophy on the mound as he gets more mature. Once infatuated with striking everybody out, he is now confident in his changeup and he's looking to pitch to contact early in the count. After he gets ahead with his three-pitch repertoire, including his 'show me' curve, he then puts the hammer down with a sharp breaking curveball for the punch-out. He faded down the stretch in 2006, not uncommon for a teenager in his first taste of the long-season leagues, but what the Mets found out at the end of the year was that he truly battles out on the mound.

Projection. Niese made significant improvements to his repertoire and command last year, a good sign of things to come. He sets the bar high for himself and he's extremely confident on the mound. He also learns from his mistakes and keeps his composure. If he continues on the same developmental track, further developing and using his changeup, he projects safely as a middle-of-the-rotation starter.

ETA. 2010. Niese finished out his first full year of professional baseball in the Florida State League, his likely destination to begin the 2007 campaign. He could even see a promotion to Double-A Binghamton later in the year, but he appears to be on the one level per year track, putting his ETA at 2010 when he'll still only be 23-years old.

Amazin Clubhouse Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nVital Statistics:
\r\nName: Jonathon Niese
\r\nPosition: Starting Pitcher
\r\nDOB: October 27, 1986
\r\nHeight: 6'3\"
\r\nWeight: 190
\r\nBats: Left
\r\nThrows: Left
\r\n
\r\nJonathon Niese celebrated his 20th birthday on October 27, as most Mets fans were mourning the fact that the anniversary of their last World Championship would remain unchanged for at least one more season.
\r\n
\r\nNiese, who was born on the same day that Jesse Orosco flung his leather glove toward the heavens and was enveloped in a pile on Shea Stadium's infield, is hopeful that he'll be able to play some part in making the Mets' next great historical moment.
\r\n
\r\nA left-hander who earned selection as a two-time Ohio high school player of the year before being selected by the Mets in the seventh round of the 2005 draft, Niese pitched the majority of the season with Class-A Hagerstown of the South Atlantic League, making 25 starts.
\r\n
\r\nHe went 11-9 with a 3.93 ERA and one complete game – a three-hit shutout on July 19 at Lexington – while logging 123 innings, striking out 132 and walking 62 before earning a two-start promotion to Class-A St. Lucie of the Florida State League.
\r\n
\r\nThough he was one of Hagerstown's most reliable pitchers and, likely, their ace, the long season took its toll on Niese. The Mets began cutting Niese's innings in August, as he was pulled after three innings twice while pitching for the Suns.
\r\n
\r\n\"He started off really well, and I think he got a little tired toward the end – which I think is to be expected,\" said Drew Butera, who caught Niese at Hagerstown.
\r\n
\r\n\"He went to the Gulf Coast (League) from high school, and this was his first full year. He has fantastic stuff, as he showed when he was fresh in the beginning.\"
\r\n
\r\nGood results are not unfamiliar to Niese. In his senior year at Defiance High School in Ohio, Niese went a perfect 12-0 with a near-perfect 0.09 ERA, blowing hitters away primarily by using a mid-90s fastball with good movement.
\r\n
\r\nHe saw subtle differences early in the South Atlantic League – small things like, say, earned runs crossing the plate. But Niese continued to rise to the challenges, earning raves within the organization for his competitiveness.
\r\n
\r\n\"In high school, I think a lot of guys are afraid,\" Niese said. \"These (professional hitters) will stand right in there, and it doesn't matter how hard you throw. With pros, they're going to hit you. That's why, when I turned pro, I realized I can't go by the velocity of my fastball anymore. I've got to go with my changeup and curveball and mix it up a lot.\"
\r\n
\r\nNiese often does not have to worry about commanding his fastball, though it can blip up as a problem at times. Most times, though, Niese will use his fastball to set up a developing change-up that features good late movement and a sweeping 12-to-6 curveball.
\r\n
\r\n\"I know we worked on his changeup, because it's gotten a lot better,\" Butera said. \"That curve is dynamite. It puts hitters away and he can put it where he wants to at any time. It was fun to use that in counts which aren't usually off-speed counts.\"
\r\n
\r\nAfter fanning 144 in 76 high school innings in 2005, Niese struck out 132 in 124 professional innings last season. As his off-speed pitches continue to develop, those numbers could rise.
\r\n
\r\n\"Foul balls and deep counts; that's professional baseball,\" Niese said. \"Something I'll need to work on is a putout pitch that's going to get them out, that they're not going to foul off. I'm still learning and working. I'm in the development phase of my career.\"
\r\n
\r\n\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n
\r\n

\r\n Year

\r\n

\r\n Team

\r\n

\r\n W-L

\r\n

\r\n IP

\r\n

\r\n Hits

\r\n

\r\n BB

\r\n

K

\r\n

\r\n ERA

\r\n

\r\n 2006

\r\n

\r\n St. Lucie

\r\n

\r\n 0-2

\r\n

\r\n 10.0

\r\n

\r\n 8

\r\n

\r\n 5

\r\n

\r\n 10

\r\n

\r\n 4.50

\r\n

\r\n 2006

\r\n

\r\n Hagerstown

\r\n

\r\n 11-9

\r\n

\r\n 123.2

\r\n

\r\n 121

\r\n

\r\n 62

\r\n

\r\n 132

\r\n

\r\n 3.93

\r\n

\r\n 2005

\r\n

\r\n GCL

\r\n

\r\n 1-0

\r\n

\r\n 24.2

\r\n

\r\n 23

\r\n

\r\n 10

\r\n

\r\n 24

\r\n

\r\n 3.65


\r\n
\r\nRepertoire. Fastball, Curveball, Changeup.
\r\n
\r\nFastball. Niese throws mostly four-seam fastballs in the 88-91 MPH range, topping off at 92 MPH last season. While he isn't the hardest thrower around, he gets good movement with his fastball and he has improved his command of his heater since signing with the Mets.
\r\n
\r\nOther Pitches. Niese's best pitch is his curveball and it serves as his out-pitch. He began throwing it more over the top in 2006 to improve the consistency in his command with it. He actually throws two different curveballs, one that is more of a get over pitch and another one that he throws with a sharper break that he uses as his strikeout pitch. Where he improved the most last season was the further development of his changeup, a pitch he tries to use early in the count to get contact. His changeup was like night and day by the end of the year and changing grips was a big reason why.
\r\n
\r\nPitching. Niese has changed his philosophy on the mound as he gets more mature. Once infatuated with striking everybody out, he is now confident in his changeup and he's looking to pitch to contact early in the count. After he gets ahead with his three-pitch repertoire, including his 'show me' curve, he then puts the hammer down with a sharp breaking curveball for the punch-out. He faded down the stretch in 2006, not uncommon for a teenager in his first taste of the long-season leagues, but what the Mets found out at the end of the year was that he truly battles out on the mound.
\r\n
\r\nProjection. Niese made significant improvements to his repertoire and command last year, a good sign of things to come. He sets the bar high for himself and he's extremely confident on the mound. He also learns from his mistakes and keeps his composure. If he continues on the same developmental track, further developing and using his changeup, he projects safely as a middle-of-the-rotation starter.
\r\n
\r\nETA. 2010. Niese finished out his first full year of professional baseball in the Florida State League, his likely destination to begin the 2007 campaign. He could even see a promotion to Double-A Binghamton later in the year, but he appears to be on the one level per year track, putting his ETA at 2010 when he'll still only be 23-years old.
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