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Mets Stat of the Day: Jon Niese's curveball

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Jon Niese throws a lot of curveballs. We know that. What people might not realize is just how good the movement on his patented pitch has been.

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Since 2008, Jon Niese has thrown 2,106 curveballs. It is one of his strongest pitches, if not the strongest. A big part of his success is the amount of break he gets on his hook. Looking at pitchers who have thrown at least 2,000 curves (dating back to 2007 to get a wider sample), Niese finds himself in an elite group in terms of movement. His average vertical movement—think of how a curveball moves downward—ranks seventh among the qualified group.

Rank Player Team Throws Count Velo H Mov V Mov Swing Rate Whiff/Swing GB/FB
1 Barry Zito SFN L 2980 72.24 4.33 -10.36 42.58% 21.43% 4.09
2 Brett Myers CLE R 2357 77.05 6.86 -10.16 47.35% 31.27% 8.38
3 Adam Wainwright SLN R 4038 74.87 8.14 -9.14 44.58% 36.67% 3.09
4 Gio Gonzalez WAS L 3932 79.79 5.57 -8.98 39.57% 36.57% 6.60
5 Chris Carpenter SLN R 2364 75.27 6.64 -8.89 36.76% 34.06% 2.55
6 Phil Hughes NYA R 2002 75.27 6.67 -8.46 33.92% 20.62% 2.30
7 Jonathon Niese NYN L 2106 75.20 5.06 -8.45 45.16% 25.24% 3.44
8 Clayton Kershaw LAN L 2107 74.06 3.14 -8.05 32.99% 36.83% 2.83
9 Randy Wolf BAL L 2957 68.12 5.34 -8.03 38.96% 19.70% 2.22
10 Felix Hernandez SEA R 2755 82.51 5.71 -7.90 35.21% 34.43% 3.45

Source: Baseball Prospectus