An intriguing ground ball rate and three years of control were enough for the Pittsburgh Pirates to obtain Jon Niese. What comprises the left-hander’s makeup as a starting pitcher?
The move still resonates strongly with many Pittsburgh Pirates observers, often serving for many as the fulcrum of a questionable off-season.
We’ve analyzed the move previously, and from all angles. For the latest in our “Pittsburgh Pirates Deep Dive” series, we are going to look at the trends that are seen when analyzing Niese purely by past performance.
For this breakdown, I took a look at Niese’s game logs for the entire 2015 season. This includes all of his regular season appearances – 29 starts and three relief outings. By looking at the entire snapshot of a full season, I expect to be able to easily identify any developing trends. When he was acquired, the book on Niese was that he had good groundball-producing ability and a varied pitch mix. Two of those pitches – a sinking fastball and a cutting version – saw groundball rates above 60 percent in 2015.