Jeffrey Warren Niemann (born February 28, 1983 in Houston, Texas) is a starting pitcher who plays for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays organization. He is currently on the 40-man roster. Niemann was the Devil Rays' first-round draft pick out of Rice University in 2004 as the fourth overall pick. He signed a major-league contract in January 2005 worth $5.2 million.
Niemann, who stands 6-foot-9, was the fourth starter for Rice in his freshman season of 2002, usually starting midweek non-conference games. He posted a 5-1 record with a 3.11 ERA, including a victory over Washington in the decisive seventh game of the 2003 NCAA regional at Rice's Reckling Park. In 2003, he stepped into Rice's weekend rotation and quickly became the nation's most dominant pitcher. He finished the season 17-0 with a 1.70 ERA and 156 strikeouts, being named Western Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Year, a consensus first-team all-American, and a finalist for the Rotary Smith Award in helping Rice to its first national championship.
Niemann battled injuries as a junior in 2004 but still went 6-3 with a 3.02 ERA in 11 starts, including a complete game victory over Texas A&M in the NCAA regional. The entire Rice weekend rotation, including Philip Humber, Wade Townsend and Niemann, were all selected in the first eight picks of the 2004 draft - the first time three teammates had ever gone so early in the same draft.
Niemann opened the 2005 season at Class High-A Visalia, where he went 0-1 with a 3.98 ERA in five starts. After a promotion to the Double-A Montgomery Biscuits, he went 0-1 with a 4.35 ERA in six appearances, including three starts. He had offseason surgery in 2005 to shave the joint between his collarbone and shoulder and returned to Montgomery in 2006. Flanked in the rotation by starting pitchers Andy Sonnanstine and Mitch Talbot during the Southern League playoffs, Niemann helped lead the Biscuits to the 2006 championship.