This just in: The Mets have had to deal with a lot of injuries this season. With those injuries has come a lot of roster shuffling. The Mets have had guys nobody has ever heard of playing games. They have been forced to use their back ups back ups as starters. This also has been true in the Mets rotation. They have used nine starters to date with most of them being rather ineffective. Fernando Nieve is not one of those pitchers. A quiet pick up from the Houston Astros in Spring Training, the 26 year-old has been the best thing going for the Mets in the month of June.
Fernando Nieve has good stuff despite low strikeout totals. His fastball hits around 92.5, but he's able to reach 95. He throws a good change up (wCH/C 6.90) as well as a curveball/slider combo. As is the case with many stuff guys, control remains his biggest problem. He's throwing only 60% of his pitches for strikes and only getting 6.67% swinging strikes.
Nieve made his Mets debut on 6/6/09 tossing two shutout innings of relief against the Washington Nationals. Since then he's made three starts going 3-0 with a 1.45 ERA. Even though the record and ERA are sparkling, Nieve hasn't exactly dominated in any of his starts and his 4.18 FIP as a starter is above average, but he is not 1.45 ERA good. He's walking nearly as many (4.34 BB/9) as he's striking out (5.30). He also has an unsustainably low BABIP of .178 and an extremely high strand rate (91.4 LOB%). Those numbers are undoubtedly due for some regression, but Mets fans don't really care about that right now.
For a team that is struggling just to field a team, Nieve has been a welcomed surprise especially for the cost. He was basically given away by the Astros and his salary is around the league minimum. Like mentioned above, he is going to go through some rough patches once that BABIP regresses which will also bring down his LOB%, but for right now Fernando-Mania continues throughout the tri-state area.