31-Year-Old Pitcher – Free Agent
2014 Fantasy Baseball Outlook
Niemann was in a battle in spring training for a spot in the Rays' rotation for 2013, but underwent season-ending shoulder surgery before taking the mound in the majors. It was the third consecutive s...
Jeff Niemann Contract Information:
Agreed to a one-year, $3 million contract with the Rays in January 2013, avoiding arbitration.
Niemann (shoulder) remains confident he will make a return at some point during the 2014 season, MLB.com reports.
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Jeff Niemann Split Stats (View Full Split Stats)
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Worst Matchups for Jeff Niemann (by OPS against, min 7 AB)
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Jeff Niemann: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
After winning a spot in the starting rotation out of training camp and a solid start to the season, Niemann landed on the disabled list with a fractured fibula which held him out through September. Then in his first start back with the Rays, he was forced to leave with shoulder soreness. His velocity dipped this season, possibly due to the injuries. He finished the season 2-3 with a respectable 3.08 ERA and 8.1 K/9 in eight total starts. An intimidating presence on the mound at 6-foot-9, Niemann does not overpower hitters with his fastball, but he has good control. The Rays have a very talented staff and he will have to compete for a spot in the rotation, but if he is in the rotation he has solid upside as a late-round pick.
Niemann had a roller coaster of a season, mired by bouts of being hittable with times of dominance. For the second straight season the 6-foot-9 giant dealt with injuries as a balky back kept him sidelined for most of May and part of June. When he returned he was dominant, finishing July with a 1.06 ERA over five starts (34.0 innings). Niemann was stellar in August as well (3.35 ERA in 37.2 innings) until a couple of starts against Texas and a one-inning start against Toronto in September left him off the ALDS roster. With the glut of starting pitching the Rays have stockpiled, the pressure will be on Niemann to produce from the start or his spot in the rotation could be in jeopardy. He'll also have to prove he can stay healthy, something he hasn't been able to do in either of the last two seasons. Don't be surprised to hear his name in the rumor mill considering he's one of the Rays pitchers who has a lower ceiling. A move to the National League would greatly increase his fantasy value.
Niemann was one of the bigger surprises in baseball to start the season, going 7-2 over the first half with a 2.77 ERA. Upon a closer look, a BABIP under .251 and an elevated strand rate in each of the first three months helped these numbers. After the All-Star break he wasn't the same, battling both back and shoulder injuries. Niemann went on to post a 7.69 ERA during the second half and never looked as good as he did in the first half. He should be healthy and ready to pitch in the third spot of the rotation. Although he's not overpowering, Niemann has the advantage of a 6-foot-9 frame that makes his pitches come from a higher plane to opposing hitters. He's worth a late-round flier if he shows he's healthy in the spring.
Niemann turned in a nice rookie season, finishing with 13 wins, a 3.94 ERA and a 1.351 WHIP. He doesn't have overpowering stuff and benefits from playing with one of the better defenses in the league. He has a spot in the rotation locked up heading into this season and should put up similar stats again this time around.
Niemann had a good season at Triple-A for the Rays, but given the team's starter depth, he likely has very little chance of winning a rotation role on this club right now. The Rays need a right field and/or DH upgrade, and Niemann could be a prime trade chip in landing such a player. Niemann will be out of options in 2009, and if he doesn't get moved, the Rays will give him a look for a bullpen role in spring training.
Despite hinting all year that they'd bring him up to the majors for a brief trial in September, the Rays did not promote Niemann last year, and that WHIP mark indicates he wasn't all that consistent at Durham last season. Still, he'll get a shot to crack the back end of Tampa Bay's rotation in spring training. There's some evidence the Rays are no longer counting on Niemann to be a staff ace in the majors, which is a good thing. Still, you need five starters to make the playoffs, and Niemann certainly has the talent to slot into a fourth or fifth starter role.
After a late start due to offseason shoulder surgery, Niemann certainly impressed at Double-A last year with a great strikeout rate. He's got a big 95-mph heater and a plus slider. The Rays sent their top pick in the 2004 draft to the Arizona Fall League, but he was shut down there with minor shoulder discomfort. If Niemann is healthy in the spring, he could compete for a spot in the Rays' rotation. However, he'll likely start the year at Triple-A and prepare for a midseason call-up.
The Devil Rays would have loved to see Niemann, their top pick in the 2004 draft, compete for a big league rotation spot this year. Unfortunately, shoulder and groin injuries limited Niemann to just over 30 innings last year, so realistically, he'll have to start 2006 back in the minors, probably Double-A. However, if he stays healthy and pitches to his potential, the Rays won't mind getting Niemann some big league starts by September.
The Devil Rays finally signed Niemann, the fourth overall pick in the 2004 draft, to a five-year major-league contract in January 2005. He'll likely start 2005 at Double-A, and a cup of coffee in the majors before year end wouldn't be out of the question for a guy who was viewed as the college starter with the most upside going into the draft.
Four plus-pitches with a fastball into the mid-to-high 90s make him the nastiest pitcher in the 2004 draft with the highest upside. Went 17-0, 1.65 for national champions Rice in 2003, but suffered through an injury-riddled year in 2004 (he had arthroscopic surgery in the fall of 2003 to clean out inflamed tissue in his elbow; later, he strained his groin in mid-April, sidelining him for a month). Niemann posted an ERA of 3.34 in just 70 innings in 2004, but a dominating performance in the regionals seems to indicate that he's fully healed. He's a big kid (6-9, 260), which means he may be slower to develop.