“The foursome of [Zack] Wheeler, the pitching prospect acquired in the Carlos Beltran trade, [Jeurys] Familia, [Matt] Harvey, and Jenrry Mejia, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery, form a nice future nucleus. Throw in Dillon Gee and Jon Niese, perhaps even Mike Pelfrey, and the Mets should have the type of pitching around which to build a contender.” John Harper, NY Daily News
This is not to criticize Harper for this piece, which illustrates nicely the extent to which the Mets are now collecting high-upside pitching prospects. But I think it reflects the way Jon Niese has simply been overlooked. And I’m not sure exactly why that is.
Niese doesn’t have a signature plus-plus pitch, I guess, though an arsenal with several pitches he can throw for strikes is more important. His win totals, not that it should matter, haven’t been impressive the way Dillon Gee’s have been in 2011. But of the entire list Harper mentioned, Niese is easily the best bet to be a frontline starting pitcher for the Mets in 2013.
...This is not to suggest that Zack Wheeler or Matt Harvey aren’t strong pitching prospects. But Harvey’s xFIP has only been a bit better than Niese’s in 2011. Familia’s and Wheeler’s have been about the same. And that’s been at high-A primarily for those three, while Niese has been doing it against major league hitters.