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Niese Would Add to Short List of Homegrown Pitchers



By Mike Silva ~ March 3rd, 2010. Filed under: Mike Silva, New York Mets.

If Jonathan Niese wins the fifth spot in the Mets rotation than he would be a rarity in recent years: A homegrown Mets starter. The Mets are an organization known for pitching, but even the late eighties championship team had 3/5 of the rotation acquired through a trade. Only Doc Gooden and Rick Aguilera were originally drafted and developed by the Mets. Since then we have seen highly regarded prospects such as Calvin Schiraldi, David West, Wes Gardner, Paul Wilson and Bill Pulsipher flop. Others, like Kevin Tapani, Jason Isringhausen, Scott Kazmir and Brian Bannister had success with other organizations.  In short, the Mets have Bobby Jones (career ERA+ of 94) as the lone example of a homegrown starter which achieved sustained success in a Mets uniform. Can Jonathan Niese break the string?

The organization clearly is high on Niese as some consider him the Mets version of Andy Pettitte. Let’s see him achieve what Jones did before we bestow any honors on him. To be fair the kid started to show much promise before his hamstring ripped apart last August. If Niese doesn’t perform as advertised who is the next Mets homegrown pitcher? Jenrry Mejia very well may be a reliever, and Tobi Stoner and Dillon Gee don’t exactly have a “can’t miss” repertoire. Does Nelson Figueroa count if he sticks in the rotation this year? Even if he does I doubt he can give the organization the service time of a Bobby Jones since he is 35 years old.

Clearly the organization needs to get back to developing pitchers.Jeurys Familia, Robert Carson, and Kyle Allen are three kids that we may hear about in the near future. Juan Urbina, an international free agent, has some promise as well. After drafting college pitchers like Eddie Kunz, the Mets may need to get back to the drawing board and focus on pitching just like Brian Cashman and the Yankees did back in 2006. It’s amazing this is a team that once had homegrown starters like Tom Seaver, Nolan Ryan, Jerry Koosman, and Gary Gentry in the starting rotation. Imagine that scenario where four of five pitchers are homegrown. A home run in the modern economics of baseball.

Earlier this week I saw a Branch Rickey quote saying that out of every 10 pitching prospects only two would be successful. At this rate the Mets would sign for that now, but is there even ten to choose?

Update:

Reader pointed out that I undersold Pelfrey who yes I consider a homegrown product. Until Big Pelf shows some consistency he is in the same boat as Jonathan Niese. The piece was more about Niese than Pelf so I wanted to clarify.

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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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2 Responses to Niese Would Add to Short List of Homegrown Pitchers

  1. Andrew

    this might be obvious but do you not consider pelfrey “home grown” because he pitched in college?

    great article though. jury’s out on niese obviously, but in order for him to be a pettitte he’ll have to show some moxie in big situations – hasn’t had the chance to show us that yet.

  2. Mike Silva

    I do, but again no sustained benchmark of success yet.

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