Noah Syndergaard Begins His Campaign For the Mets’ Rotation

by Matthew Roberts | Posted on Tuesday, April 14th, 2015
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Noah Syndergaard

New York Mets’ top propsect Noah Syndergaard kicked off his 2015 season in Sacramento last night in a AAA game between the San Francisco Giants‘ affiliate Sacramento River Cats and the Mets’ affiliate Las Vegas 51s. Syndergaard had a disappointing 2014 season in AAA posting a 4.60 ERA, however he did flash that elite bat missing potential with a 9.8 K/9 over 133 innings at that level. Syndergaard followed that up with a checkered spring training where he’d look dominant one inning and then pedestrian the next. Despite the injury to Zack Wheeler, Syndergaard didn’t show enough this spring to avoid being optioned to AAA to start the season.

When the Mets announced that Syndergaard wouldn’t take his first turn for the 51s until the fifth game it was revealed that Syndergaard had been suffering through some forearm stiffness this spring. On this basis, the Mets put Syndergaard on a very strict pitch count for his game against the River Cats last night as he was pulled after just 54 pitches. He allowed 3 runs, 2 of which were earned while yielding 7 hits and 1 walk, while only striking out 2 over 4 innings. The performance had the feel of yet another spring training exercise as Syndergaard continues to work on stretching out in the early season after the forearm issue.

Syndergaard entered spring training as the 11th ranked prospect by Baseball America. Despite the lofty ranking, most considered him a long shot to crack a rotation that featured the return of phenom Matt Harvey, 2014 National League Rookie of the Year Jacob deGrom, and a veteran corps of Bartolo ColonJonathan Niese, and Dillon Gee (chosen to replace Wheeler in the rotation.) Gee had been the subject of constant trade rumors in the offseason, even as recently as two weeks ago. However, the potential trade is seen as way to open the fifth spot up for fellow prospect Rafael Montero, as opposed to given the spot to Syndergaard.

Between Syndergaard’s spotty performance between 2014 and this spring, and the Mets’ attention turned to other pitching prospects, Syndergaard looks like he needs to get up to speed quickly if he wants to see the majors this year. Performing well may also lead to Syndergaard finding the majors for a team other than the Mets, as the Mets are well known shoppers in the shortstop market this year and if they don’t trade Gee boast some of the best depth at pitching in all of the National League making Syndergaard both expendable and a valuable chip in obtaining a good major league caliber shortstop. In the meantime, Mets fans (who aren’t already distracted by Harvey’s dazzling return) are going to have to keep waiting while Syndergaard flashes those blazing two- and four-seam fastballs in Las Vegas.

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Matthew Roberts
About the Author

Matthew cut his teeth on baseball during $2 Bleacher Wednesdays at the old Arlington Stadium in the 1980's and has loved the Texas Rangers ever since. When he's not teaching his young son to throw a wicked circle change, he enjoys the six month friendly rivalry with his wife and her precious Oakland A's. Follow him on Twitter @ifithasballs.

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