Jeff Niemann and Tall Pitchers

By Robbie Knopf

By any standard, Jeff Niemann is tall. Standing 6’9″ and weighing 285 pounds, Niemann is a behemoth on the mound. With Niemann starting tonight for the Rays, let’s talk about tall pitchers in baseball, which I’ll define as standing 6’7″ or taller. There are 18 pitchers on major league rosters or disabled lists who stand 6’7″ or higher. 12 stand 6’7″, 4 are 6’8″, Niemann is 6’9″, and Jon Rauch is 6’11”.  Here are some facts about them, and some of them are actually interesting.

11 are starters, 7 are relievers.

Their average weight is 240 pounds with the median at 235. CC Sabathia and Jon Rauch both weigh 290 while Brandon McCarthy weighs just 200.

11 have been on the 15-day DL since the start of the 2011 season.

The only teams with two or more players above 6’7″ are the Yankees (Sabathia, Michael Pineda) and the Reds (Sean Marshall, Logan Ondrusek).

Their average fastball velocity is 92.01 MPH with the highest being Michael Pineda (95.36 MPH) and Josh Johnson (95.27 MPH).

And finally, as a testament to the inconsistency of taller pitchers, 6 of the 11 starters have at least one month in their career where their ERA is under 3.00 and at least one month where their ERA is over 5.00. Among the other six, aces Jered Weaver, Adam Wainwright, CC Sabathia, and Josh Johnson all have at least one month over 4.00 and the sixth, Aaron Harang, does not have a single month in his career where his ERA is not in the 4.00’s for that month.

Hope you enjoy watching Niemann and the Rays face off against just 6’2″ David Phelps and the New York Yankees.