Player Focus: Jeff Niemann
The D-Rays' Jeff Niemann had his first Spring win on Friday, out-dueling Philadelphia's ace Cole Hamels. He pitched 3 hitless innings, with 2 BB & 2 K's. Tampa Bay went on to win 9-1. After going 12-6 with a 3.98 ERA in 25 starts at Triple-A Durham last season, Niemann looks ready to make the jump to the majors in '08.
Toward the end of the '07 season, his 05 Bowman Chrome Auto RC was trading in the $18-19 range, before gradually falling to an average TAC of $11.75 in February. So far in March, it's averaging $10.25. His 05 Bowman Sterling Auto/Jsy RC has seen a wide range of prices recently, with one selling last month for $5.99, and another selling this month for $12.01. In past months, prices have fallen somewhere in between. As of now, Niemann is on the D-Rays' 40-man roster, so if all goes well, he should be lighting up batters in the Bigs next month. His cards have tons of upside potential, and are priced to buy. My only concern would be his propensity for injury. He has missed playing time both in college and in the minors, so hopefully he's in good health and ready for the challenge.