Syndergaard Heat Fuels Hopes of Warmer Met Future
Monday was one of the coldest March days in memory in the New York area.
In the afternoon, though, it was possible to huddle close to the radio for the Mets-Braves spring training broadcast on WOR 710 and be warmed by the dispatches coming from announcers Josh Lewin and Steve Phillips about the heat coming from Noah Syndergaard’s fastball.
The big righthander is the next premium pitching prospect in line in a Mets organization that promoted Matt Harvey in July 2012 and Zack Wheeler in June 2013. While Harvey spends 2014 rehabbing from Tommy John surgery and Wheeler tries to advance to the level of near-ace in New York this season, Syndergaard offers hope for dreamers that he may have a higher ceiling than either Harvey or Wheeler.
Well, literally, he does. The 21-year-old righty is 6-foot-6, 240 pounds.
Syndergaard pitched two scoreless innings against the Braves on Monday, touching 98 mph on the radar with his fastball and allowing just one hit.
In 11 starts after being elevated to Double-A Binghamton last summer, Syndergaard was 6-1 with a 3.00 ERA and a 69-to-12 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 54 innings. That kind of K-BB ratio is something the talented, hard-throwing Wheeler can only dream about right now, despite a solid 7-5 showing with a 3.42 ERA in his rookie season in the major leagues last year.
Syndergaard and catcher Travis d’Arnaud were both acquired by the Mets for R.A. Dickey following Dickey’s 20-victory Cy Young season with the Mets in 2012. Dickey was 14-13 with a 4.21 ERA in Toronto last year.
MLB.com ranks Syndergaard as the No. 3 prospect in the Mets’ system. He’s ranked No. 1 in The Sporting News 2014 Baseball Yearbook.
Syndergaard has never pitched a game in Triple-A, and won’t start the season with the Mets no matter how good he looks in spring training. The Mets waited until late July to promote Harvey two summers ago and until late June to bring Wheeler up last year. But, this year, they are aiming for something more than the 74 victories the team managed in each of the last two seasons. There is more pressure to win more games and, if not contend, to eclipse the .500 barrier for the first time since the Mets played in Shea Stadium.
All of that could factor into the organization relenting and bringing Syndergaard to the majors, perhaps, earlier than they did with Harvey or Wheeler.