Warthen and Ojeda See the Same Things About Niese

From yours truly on MetsToday, in the Game 13 post:

It appears as though his arm slot has dropped from straight overhand to more three-quarter, which can be a better angle for getting movement, but takes bite away from his best pitch, the curveball. That angle also was causing him to get “under” the ball, meaning, he was releasing the ball with his fingers at the side of the ball or almost underneath — which causes the ball to move more sideways and up …

The SNY crew kept referring to one of Niese’s pitches as a “cutter”, and maybe that’s how Niese identifies it, but it is a slider. A “cutter” is a “cut fastball”, so called because it is thrown with a fastball arm action but with a grip that is shifted slightly off-center from across the four seams. The result is a fastball that “cuts” slightly — just a few inches at most. However, what Niese is doing is modifying the grip AND turning his wrist slightly counterclockwise — which is a slider. Why does it matter? Because with a slider, the fingers slide to the side of the ball and the thumb turns up toward the sky, which puts pressure on the elbow. Niese already puts a lot of pressure on his elbow with the overhand curve, so there is concern that an injury will be sustained in that area at some point. But staying in the here and now, that slider / wannabe cutter is often flat and doesn’t have much downward movement, which means it will eventually get hit hard.

… Though, Niese did throw at least 6 or 7 sliders with sharp downward bite. He may want to focus on thinking about that pitch as a slider, and calling it a slider, because when it’s not, it’s dangerous.

From Bobby Ojeda during “In the O-Zone” in last night’s postgame on SNY:

Those were pitches he was getting away from (the inside fastball and curveball). He was getting a little lazy with that cutter, which was no longer a cutter but becoming more of a big loopy slider. The cutter was back today but used sparingly … what you saw they weren’t leaning out over, looking for that soft cutter and they weren’t able to make good contact, and then Uncle Charley showed up — and I love seeing it. This kid got one of the best curveballs, probably in the National League, it’s nice to see him use it, he used it for strikes and he used it for chase pitches as well …

Chris Carlin chimes in:

You said on Loudmouths earlier tonight that the cutter had become somewhat more of a slider. Did he pitch in a more mature fashion, knowing that they would be looking for that cutter more?


Absolutely. I think there was a lot of discussion with Dan Warthen on ‘you’re getting a little sloppy with that cutter’ it IS a slider — Dan sees it, I see it … I’d be willing to bet that Barajas caught his bullpen and said ‘look, we’ve gotta get a little more tight, we’ve gotta get tighter with that … that cutter comes from from across the plate, and it’s very easy — it looks big to a hitter …

Also, during the postgame interview with Jerry Manuel, Manuel referred to Niese’s repertoire as including a “ball moving like a slider” and a “slow curveball”.

I provide this just in case there was any question regarding the reliability of the pitching analysis / information you get here on MetsToday.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. Mike May 1, 2010 at 9:52 am
    “I provide this just in case there was any question regarding the reliability of the pitching analysis / information you get here on MetsToday. ”

    Never Joe. I’m already convinced of your analysis. Well done again.

  2. brian May 1, 2010 at 10:53 am
    hey really appreciate the insite good work
  3. Tyler May 2, 2010 at 12:22 am
    i look forward to watching niese buckle batters’ knees with that curve for many years. i couldn’t wait until the second time through the order against phils…and he broke off a few nice ones.