After being drafted by New York Mets in the 3rd round of the 2007 MLB June Amateur Draft out Wake Forest University, Eric Niesen spent five years with the Mets making it up to AA. He is now the newest member of the Seattle Mariners with an invitation to spring training.
In an interview with Monroe News after his release by the Mets, he revealed how difficult the process was;
"I needed a fresh start," he said. "With the Mets (organization), I felt I had to be perfect every time out. It was one of those things where you hadn't pitched in a few days, so you're not surprised. I saw the writing on the wall."
It was stated that Niesen started to experience control problems after a freak accident when he was hit in the back of the head by an errant throw by the catcher on an attempted stolen base.
In an effort to get back as many others do, Niesen hooked up with an Independent baseball team; Long Island Ducks of the Atlantic League.
And what happened this year was a rebirth for the Wake Forest Alumni.
In 57 games, Niesen went 3-2 with a 3.89 ERA in 69 innings. He struck out 64 while walking only 28 (courtesy of Baseball Reference). In a press release by the Ducks, president Michael Pfaff was very complimentary of his efforts this season;
“Eric did a great job for us last season, and we wish him the best of luck with Seattle,”
Niesen also played an integral part of the Ducks post-season run to the championship appearing in seven games striking out three.
This reminds me of another feel good story you might remember; Scott Kazmir.
Whether or not Niesen makes the team out of Spring Training, his time in the Independent ball earned him another shot. With the drive to succeed and don’t quit attitude, this is not the last time we’re going to hear from him.
Devon is the Founder and Executive Director of The GM's Perspective. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Currently, Devon is a Manager at a financial institution in Northern Ontario Canada, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow The GM's Perspective on Twitter and Facebook. His full bio can be seen here.