Young lefthander Jonathon Niese made great strides in 2010, emerging as a capable MLB pitcher with mental toughness and competitive fire.
His final numbers didn’t fully tell the story; he posted a 9-10 record with a 4.20 ERA, 148 Ks, 64 BB, and 192 hits in 30 starts covering 173 innings – pretty ho-hum and not necessarily indicative of a star on the rise. But in truth, Niese probably wasn’t ready to pitch a full season at the MLB level after missing the second half of 2009 and winter ball with a torn hamstring.
At times, Niese was spectacular – for example, his one-hit shutout of the Padres in Game 60. At other times, he looked overmatched, struggling to find the strike zone and getting hit hard when he did. Over the course of the season, his performance was uneven, mainly due to his occasional overuse of the cutter (which is actually a slider), which in turn was partially the cause for inconsistency with his mechanics and arm angle.
Niese’s fastball didn’t have enough movement to rely on heavily against MLB hitters, so the “quick fix” was to