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Niese has quickly established himself as a reliable top-of-the-rotation starter for the price of only a 7th-round pick.
Two rounds before the Mets drafted Parnell, Jon Niese was another one of the Mets’ biggest draft steals.
In fact, I believe he is the biggest steal.
Niese was the 99th pitcher chosen in the 2005 draft. Roughly half of the pitchers drafted before Niese never made the majors. Only a handful became top-of-the-rotation starters like Niese did, such as Ricky Romero and Matt Garza.
But none of them were drafted as low as Niese was at pick 209.
Niese has developed into one of the best left-handed pitchers in baseball. Last season, he finished 13-9 with a 3.40 ERA in 190.1 innings.
The 2005 draft was a pretty backwards draft for pitching.
Romero and Garza were arguably the best pitchers drafted toward the top end of the draft. But the better pitchers were drafted much later. Andrew Bailey was a 16th round pick. Jaime Garcia was a 22nd round pick. Sergio Romo went in the 28th round. Most incredibly, the National League saves leader for 2011 and a two-time Cy Young winner were drafted two spots apart in the 42nd round: John Axford and Tim Lincecum.
Even last year’s NL MVP, Buster Posey, was drafted in the 50th round as a pitcher.
As for the Mets, for the price of a seventh round pick they found an Opening Day starter who can give 200 quality innings every year.
Niese may not have been the biggest steal of that year's draft, but he is certainly the biggest for the Mets in the past eight years.
Stats and/or draft info via ESPN.com, MLB.com, MiLB.com and baseball-reference.com