Assessing the players: Jeff Niemann

By Unknown author

The assessment series continues on and this time we take a look at the big man of the Rays starting rotation, Jeff Niemann. Niemann had a solid start to the 2010 season, but a back injury sidelined him for several starts. Upon his return, Niemann had control issues and struggled, but was able to get his game back together before the post season (pitched scoreless relief in the post season). Time to take a closer look at the big man’s numbers.

Niemann finished 2010 with a 12-8 record, a 4.39 ERA, while striking out 131 batters and giving up 61 walks. Niemann pitched 174.1 innings (injury limited his number of starts) in 30 starts, gave up 159 hits, 25 home runs, while opponents hit .242 against him. Niemann does not throw very hard, despite his large size. His fastball tops out at about 94. Niemann relies on locating his fastball and using off speed breaking pitches to get ahead of hitters and get them out. If Niemann’s command is slightly off on a given night, he does give up a lot of hits because of his lack of speed in his fastball.

Niemann was dominant early in the season and seemed to ready to have a big season. But the back injury shelved him for about a month and upon his return, he did not have the same pin point command as he had earlier. Niemann had several rough outing where he gave up a lot of hits and runs. But as he continued to recover and get back into game shape, he rebounded and finished the season strong.

Niemann is another key, young pitcher on the Rays starting staff. He may be the number 3 or 4 starer next season, but will have a ton of wins if he can continue to throw strikes and stay healthy. Final grade: B