Posted by Diehardmets
The Mets 2010 season was largely a disappointment. Then again, a reasonable Mets fan wouldn’t have expected much from our team. Our pitching staff was flimsy, and our offense wasn’t good enough to make up for it. We were pleasantly surprised by our pitching staff, namely R. A. Dickey,
who helped bring the Mets to the 5th best ERA in the NL, as we were equally disappointed by the production of Bay and our offense as a whole.
Rather than focus on the negative, I want to analyze the best part of our 2010 team: our starters. For most of the season, our rotation was comprised of Johan Santana, Mike Pelfrey, R. A. Dickey, Jon Niese, and a series of junk pitchers. I will look at each starter in turn, but I’ll start with the one I find most intriguing: Jon Niese.
A 7th Round pick in 2005, the 24 year old Niese (23 during the season) had a breakout season in 2010. Though he struggled down the stretch quite a bit, likely due to fatigue, he still amassed a 9-10 record to go with a 4.20 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, and 7.67 K/9. His HR/9 was a bit high at 1.09, as was his LOB% at 70.6. Nothing eye boggling, but still very good overall numbers for a 23 year old pitching more innings then he ever had in a single season. His stats were dragged down in May by a nagging injury to his hamstring suffered last season on a play covering first, and then fatigue at the end of the season. Most Mets fans will remember his string of dominance midseason where his ERA was below 3 and his K/9 at around 8 for a good month and a half. Even with his poor start and finish, he managed a 1.9 WAR in 173.2 innings.
Projections to next year say Niese should be even better. Though his LOB% will likely regress leading to a higher ERA, other stats suggests the opposite will happen. Niese’s xFIP sits at 3.94, 26 points below his ERA of 4.20. His BABIP of .335 is also much higher than the league average, though that is close to his career norms. He doesn’t walk many, with a 3.29 BB/9 and a great 2.33 K/BB. In 2011, he’ll also be better prepared to deal with the fatigue suffered from pitching an entire season, as well as having a completely healthy hamstring. He should be able to manage an ERA around 3.6
with his usual 7.5 K/9.
The low key talent the Mets snagged on the cheap will be a key facet in the Mets starting rotation in 2011. As long as he keeps his walk rate low and the ball in the park (not incredibly hard to do at Citi), his fastball, cutter, and wicked curve will provide a great third starter for the hopeful 2011 Mets.
Up Next….Mike Pelfrey.