When Sandy Alderson decided to trade R.A. Dickey, he insisted on a haul befitting a sitting Cy Young Award winner. In one of his best moves yet, the Son of Alder came home with Travis d’Arnaud, Wuilmer Becerra and fellow Nord Noah Syndergaard, right now looking for all the world like the lynchpin of the entire deal. In his first game action under close scrutiny, Syndergaard – already bearing the nickname “Thor,” thanks to the Mets’ bloggerati – made chopped herring out of a passel of Atlanta regulars.
His fastball reached 97 MPH and a knee-buckling curve clocked in at around 80. Already, one spring training start – well, technically two, but the other one was an intra-squad game, so that doesn’t count – into his 2014 campaign, the murmur for him to come north with the big club is audible. Manager Terry Collins is using un-subtle code to express his secret desire for Syndergaard to unpack in Queens, rather than Las Vegas. We fans – starved for any good news – have begun to drool in anticipation of Syndergaard toeing the rubber at Citi Field, causing various professional Cubs, Marlins, Phillies, Padres and the like look utterly silly. And if we allow ourselves to look a little bit forward to 2015, we can see a pitching rotation of Matt Harvey, Bartolo Colon, Zack Wheeler, Jon Niese and Syndergaard leading the Mets to that deferred magic number, 90+ wins.
For now, though, the reality is that Noah Syndergaard is 99.9% assured to start the season in Las Vegas. First of all, the Mets’ track record in these things is clear: historically, they have wanted no part of any “Super Two” prospects. This is why we didn’t see Harvey until July 2012, Wheeler until June and d’Arnaud until July last year. The organizational philosophy, right or wrong, is kind of set in stone, as is an imposed IP limit for each and every young pitcher. No one is ever pushed more than 30 innings over his immediately prior season. That would put Syndergaard at about the 140 – 145 innings mark for the entire season, regardless of where he pitches. Also, by his own admission, he needs more exposure at the AAA level. After his glorious start yesterday, he said that he needs to work on his secondary stuff. He knows as well as everybody else that he won’t succeed by just trying to blow the ball past people. He also admitted he was a little bit awed by the crowd – a sensation he will most definitely need to banish before he’ll be considered ready to pitch under the brightest lights of all. No, the odds are not in favor of his making a chilly April Citi debut.
But he’ll sure be fun to look at for now…
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