January 11, 2007

Top 10 Prospects: 7. Jon Niese

I will be posting on the Mets top 10 prospects through the course of the the next couple of days, so look for them. Over at Baseball America, they take a look at the Mets top 10 prospects:

7.Jon Niese, lhp Born: Oct. 27, 1986; B-T: L-L; Ht: 6-3; Wt: 190
Drafted: HS--Defiance, Ohio, 2005 (7th round); Signed by: Erwin Bryant

Background: A product of the same Defiance (Ohio) High program that spawned Chad Billingsley, Niese was Ohio's first ever back-to-back state high school player of the year. He was deemed a tough sign coming out of high school, but a recruiting call from Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter convinced Niese to sign for $175,000, the equivalent of early fifth-round money.

Strengths: Niese is at his best when he has command of his three-pitch mix. He has a lively fastball that sits at 87-90 mph. His big, looping 68-70 mph curveball is a strikeout pitch when it's on. He's willing to throw his 77-79 mph straight changeup to both lefthanders and righthanders. The Mets love his competitive fire.

Weaknesses: Though both his curveball and changeup have potential, Niese rarely has a feel for both of them on the same night. His curve could use more consistent rotation and he needs better command of both pitches. He can get overcompetitve and try to strike everyone out, which works against him. He'll have to get stronger after wearing down as his first full season progressed, resulting in some ugly late-season starts.

The Future: Despite some inconsistency, Niese showed promise in 2006. He'll return to high Class A, where he made two late starts, and projects as a middle-of-the-rotation starter.

No comments: