In a season where there might not be a whole lot to cheer for, outside of the inevitable debuts of Travis d’Arnaud and Zack Wheeler and the continued maturation of Matt Harvey, something that Mets fans can take pleasure in is watching homegrown southpaw Jon Niese try to take the next step forward and bring himself into the next tier of starting pitchers.
Over the past three full seasons, we’ve seen Niese take some giant steps forward, improving his stock from fourth starter ceiling to a bona-fide number two starter and de facto ace of the Mets staff. He has done so by cutting his walk rate from a decent 3.21 BB/9 in 2010, to a stingy 2.32 BB/9 in 2012, while maintaining a strikeout rate of more than seven per nine innings.
The peripheral stats have always, at the major league level, indicated that Niese was a better pitcher than his win-loss record and ERA indicated.
He struggled with incredibly high BABIPs in his first two full seasons, posting a .324 mark in 2010 and .333 in 2...