Niebla At Point Zero

Mexican right-hander Luis Niebla had a solid first season in the United States this year despite undergoing changes to his mechanics and adding a brand new pitch to his arsenal. Though he has some experience and some success now, he still looks at this point in his career as really just the beginning.

He led the GCL Yankees' staff in innings pitched [42] and finished the 2012 season with a 5-2 record, a 4.29 ERA, and better than a four to one strikeout to walk ratio.

"I went through some good things and some bad things but overall it was a good year," Niebla said through the help of a translator. "It took some getting used to the weather, the level of play, and to figure out how to throw a couple of pitches."

A natural strike-thrower whose fastball routinely sits in the 90-94 mph range, Niebla struggled a few times this year and mostly it was due to the incorporation of a brand new curveball.

"I used to throw a slider and now I'm throwing a curveball," he said. "Everything has changed, the grip, the command, everything. Now I feel comfortable with it. Through the season I didn't have much confidence with it."

Averaging just in the low-70s with his curveball, it became a top focus for him during Instructs and now he has gotten it up to a very respectable 76-77 mph range.

"That's what I'm working on at [both] Instructs. Because I didn't have a curveball before I just really needed the repetitions to get comfortable with the grip, arm angle, and everything. I just needed the reps.

"I still have my slider but I know I need another pitch, an out-pitch. To have a new pitch is very important."

Now a four-pitch hurler, Niebla believes he can build on his first U.S. season this year and in many ways he looks at it as a brand new start.

"I expected to have a better year but I also didn't expect to include a curveball in my repertoire. I also had to make a couple of changes to my mechanics. I'm getting better and I want to get even better [going forward].

"I feel better. I'm much more confident with my curveball and I'm very comfortable with my mechanics now because I was working on [both of them] throughout the season."

The changes in his mechanics were designed to get him to throw his curveball at the same angle at his other pitches and to also to get him to throw more strikes down in the zone with all of his pitches.

Able to be much more consistent in both regards, Niebla feels like a completely different pitcher than the one who pitched to a 1.72 ERA in the Dominican Summer League a year ago.

"I've been working on them [the mechanics] to get the lower strike and I'm more comfortable with that too.

"I have a lot to get better at. I feel like I have a lot of room for improvement. For me this is point zero, the first step. I'm only going to get better from here."

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\r\n \r\n\r\nHe led the GCL Yankees' staff in innings pitched [42] and finished the 2012 season with a 5-2 record, a 4.29 ERA, and better than a four to one strikeout to walk ratio.
\r\n
\r\n\"I went through some good things and some bad things but overall it was a good year,\" Niebla said through the help of a translator. \"It took some getting used to the weather, the level of play, and to figure out how to throw a couple of pitches.\"
\r\n
\r\nA natural strike-thrower whose fastball routinely sits in the 90-94 mph range, Niebla struggled a few times this year and mostly it was due to the incorporation of a brand new curveball.
\r\n
\r\n\"I used to throw a slider and now I'm throwing a curveball,\" he said. \"Everything has changed, the grip, the command, everything. Now I feel comfortable with it. Through the season I didn't have much confidence with it.\"
\r\n
\r\nAveraging just in the low-70s with his curveball, it became a top focus for him during Instructs and now he has gotten it up to a very respectable 76-77 mph range.
\r\n
\r\n\"That's what I'm working on at [both] Instructs. Because I didn't have a curveball before I just really needed the repetitions to get comfortable with the grip, arm angle, and everything. I just needed the reps.
\r\n
\r\n\"I still have my slider but I know I need another pitch, an out-pitch. To have a new pitch is very important.\"
\r\n
\r\nNow a four-pitch hurler, Niebla believes he can build on his first U.S. season this year and in many ways he looks at it as a brand new start.
\r\n
\r\n\"I expected to have a better year but I also didn't expect to include a curveball in my repertoire. I also had to make a couple of changes to my mechanics. I'm getting better and I want to get even better [going forward].
\r\n
\r\n\"I feel better. I'm much more confident with my curveball and I'm very comfortable with my mechanics now because I was working on [both of them] throughout the season.\"
\r\n
\r\nThe changes in his mechanics were designed to get him to throw his curveball at the same angle at his other pitches and to also to get him to throw more strikes down in the zone with all of his pitches.
\r\n
\r\nAble to be much more consistent in both regards, Niebla feels like a completely different pitcher than the one who pitched to a 1.72 ERA in the Dominican Summer League a year ago.
\r\n
\r\n\"I've been working on them [the mechanics] to get the lower strike and I'm more comfortable with that too.
\r\n
\r\n\"I have a lot to get better at. I feel like I have a lot of room for improvement. For me this is point zero, the first step. I'm only going to get better from here.\"
\r\n
\r\n

\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n\r\n
\r\n

Are you a monthly or 3-month subscriber to PinstripesPlus.com? Why not get two months free AND get 4 issues of our PinstripesPlus Magazine included by becoming an annual subscriber? Upgrade today to get the most out of your subscription.

\r\n

\r\n

Become an annual subscriber today!

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