Fantasy Baseball: Is Jonathon Niese an Easy Roster Addition?

Ryan Lester@LestersLegendsSenior Writer IJune 8, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 03:  Jonathon Niese #49 of the New York Mets pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals at Citi Field on June 3, 2012 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

In his past six starts, New York Mets lefty Jonathon Niese is 2-1 with a 4.13 ERA. On the year he’s 4-2 with a 4.11 ERA. He has allowed three or fewer earned runs in eight of his 11 starts. He’s been knocked around a little in his other three starts, but he’s been fairly consistent.

He’s really stepped it up over his past three starts, going 2-1 with a 2.41 ERA and 22 strikeouts in 18.2 innings (10.6 K/9). After striking out ten St. Louis Cardinals batters in six scoreless innings in his most recent outing, he left with a heart problem. That’s the sort of thing that goes beyond baseball, especially the fantasy variety, and gets personal.

Thankfully it turned out to not be that serious of an issue. Niese will have a procedure done during the All-Star Break, but he isn’t expected to miss any starts.

Niese has been terrific at home—2-0, 3.60 ERA vs. 2-2, 4.60 on the road—and even better during day games (3-0, 2.35 ERA). He has pitched just three innings on turf (24.00 ERA) that ballooned his 3.09 grass ERA.

He has been a nightmare on left-handed batters (.167 average, .442 OPS), but has held his own against righties too (.241, .734).

One bit of caution with Niese has been his BABIP. It sits at .273, which is significantly lower than his .322 career mark. His luck could change in that respect. Even if it does, he’s been pretty steady over the past two and a half seasons.

Niese is owned in about 30.0 percent of Yahoo! and less than 20.0 percent of ESPN fantasy leagues. His next starts comes against the Yankees so feel free to take a pass on him in the short-term, but he’s definitely a pitcher to consider going forward.

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