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2/28/1983 (33 y, 11 m, 26 d)
2004 June Amateur Draft - Round: 1, Pick: 4, Overall: 4, Team: Tampa Bay Devil Rays
$3M / 1 Years (2013)
Niemann (shoulder) remains confident he will make a return at some point during the 2014 season, MLB.com reports. (2/18/2014)
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(Click Year to Expand /
Year in Review:
The giant has been around seemingly forever. He improved as the season drew on, although his four-seam fastball was unimpressive; using his breaking pitches more wouldn’t kill him. The interesting underlying storyline in 2009 was his usage and revival of a split-fingered fastball. It’s hard to say just how much success the pitch invoked upon its reintroduction to Niemann’s rolodex, but it seemingly coincided with an increase in strikeouts and decrease in contact ratio. Niemann’s plain ol’ FIP is a bit deceiving thanks to an abnormally HR/FB ratio – more on that in a second – but if the improvements are real he should be in no danger of losing his rotation spot anytime soon because of performance.
The Year Ahead:
Expect Niemann’s HR/FB ratio to regress towards 9-11% region, meaning a few more of his outfield flies may sneak over the wall, but that won’t be totally indicative of worse pitching. One of the knocks on Niemann coming up through the system was his inability to stay healthy; it will be interesting to see if his body can withstand an innings increase next season without falling apart. If it can, Niemann should contend for double-digit victories, but otherwise he isn’t quite the front-of-the-rotation starter his ERA and win-loss record suggested he was in 2009. (R.J. Anderson)
The Rays have envious starting pitching depth, and, although there have been rumblings of moving Niemann to the bullpen (possibly even making him the closer), he's expected to start 2011 in the team's rotation. His strikeout rate over the last two seasons isn't great (6.49 K/9) but it's good enough, and he makes up for it by keeping his WHIP down and his ERA respectable by limiting walks (2.86 BB/9, taking out intentional walks). Niemann is a solid fourth or fifth fantasy starter, but he's going to have to start missing more bats (just a 7.5% swing-and-miss rate for his career) to take the next step and become more. Tampa will still be a fine team in 2011, so another dozen wins or so is likely. Niemann did miss three weeks with a shoulder strain in 2010, the latest in a long line of arm injuries,further limiting his fantasy value. He's a solid option to round out a roster, but not a centerpiece. (Mike Axisa)
The Quick Opinion:
Potential injuries and an overall lack of strikeouts limit Niemann's fantasy value, but he remains a solid fourth or fifth starter to round out your roster.
Over 500 innings of 107 FIP- pitching is not how we typically envision a former No. four overall pick to perform through his age 28 season, but injuries and occasional ineffectiveness have plagued the once highly-touted Niemann. A healthy Niemann should get 175 innings in 2012, and if his 2011 xFIP and SIERA were predicting the real deal, he could finally start turning corners and manage a nice 3.50 to 3.70 ERA, given the Rays' elite defense. (Bradley Woodrum)
The Quick Opinion:
Niemann looks as poised as he ever has been for an improvement in 2012 -- if he can stay healthy. A 3.50 ERA is within reach, with a chance to be even better.
Never the picture of health before the season, Niemann was really bitten by the injury bug in 2012. He was pitching very well before a comebacker fractured his leg in mid-May. Tightness in his right arm caused him to be pulled from his first start back from the 60-day disabled list in September. In eight starts, he finished with an 8.05 K/9 and 3.08 ERA. The soon-to-be 30-year-old is the elder statesmen of the Rays' rotation and currently slots into the fourth spot, though Alex Cobb and even Chris Archer could steal his spot away if he’s unable to remain healthy. (Erik Hahmann)
The Quick Opinion:
Niemann’s health is always a concern as he’s only thrown 180 innings once in his four year career. Blame Rice if you want.
Niemann always had good prospect billing, but serious injury concerns -- even in the minors. Then Niemann missed the entire 2013 season with shoulder surgery. The now 31-year-old starter had showed good signs of progress in his age-29 season, but even then he lasted only eight starts as a broken ankle punctuated his career-high strikeout rate. Can Niemann still contribute at the major league level? Absolutely. Can a pitcher with this kind of injury history fizzle into oblivion? Even more absolutely. Niemann is worth keeping an eye on, but he's not much more than waiver wire bait at this point. (
The Quick Opinion:
Niemann has pitched in only eight games over the last two seasons. Keep an eye on his comeback because he looked his best in his most recent seasons.
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Updated: Thursday, February 23, 2017 3:34 AM ET
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