Is Noah Syndergaard Ready To Drop The Hammer?

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.

THOR_mjolnir_sinscriptionHis 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…

Follow me on Twitter @CharlieHangley

15 comments for “Is Noah Syndergaard Ready To Drop The Hammer?

  1. Jerry Grote
    March 4, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    nicely written charlie.

  2. March 4, 2014 at 3:05 pm

    Good read, Charlie. If I’m the Mets, I strongly prefer to keep Syndergaard in AAA until mid-June, and I less strongly prefer to keep Montero in AAA until mid-June. But under no circumstances should either pitcher be called up in the season’s first 12 or so days. We can debate the merits of looking to avoid the additional cost associated with trading a year at league minimum for a fourth arbitration year, given that it requires 2-3 months of waiting in AAA. But there’s no debating (IMO) the foolishness of trading a full year of team control for 12 days (i.e. 2 starts) in April of the 2014 season.

    • March 5, 2014 at 7:54 am

      Well put, Chris.

      Just for us dreamers….when would he be called up, at the earliest, while maintaining control? June?

  3. blastingzone
    March 4, 2014 at 3:09 pm

    Remember the good old days when Davey Johnson demanded the mets take 19 year old Doc Gooden who never pitched at AAA north with the big club? I know Terry would love to keep Thor on the
    mets to start the season but that will never happen because Terry doesn’t have the balls to
    go to Sandy and say listen if you want this club to win 90 games you need to let me take Thor
    north and you need to get us a real SS! But being the wimp that Terry is and Sandy’s puppet
    that will never happen! I keep hearing about Thor’s innings limit but why can’t he do that in the majors? Pitch him 5 or 6 innings every outing unless of course he’s pitching a no hitter
    and that should keep his inning’s down!!

    • NormE
      March 4, 2014 at 5:49 pm

      Sorry, but there was no “super 2” rule when Doc came up. It makes sense to hold onto control of Thor for the extra year. And let’s face it, the 2014 Mets are not ready to be contenders, especially with the SS and 1B situation.

    • Sean Flattery
      March 6, 2014 at 9:24 pm

      Doc was a freak of nature, a very rare case. 300 Ks in 191 innings in 1983. Granted he walked over a 100, but it’s a different world now.

  4. AV
    March 4, 2014 at 5:15 pm

    Let’s be patient here. One strong Spring Training start does not mean he’s ready. Matt Harvey looked great in Spring 2012 only to struggle a bit in AAA and have that clunker against San Diego right after being called up. Zack Wheeler looked good last Spring only to struggle at first in Las Vegas and in a few of his first MLB starts after being called up. Noah Syndergaard is more likely to follow that route than dominate from the get-go. After all, he’s never pitched above AA.

    My bigger concern right now at the beginning of March is what superhero Zack Wheeler is. Syndergaard is ‘Thor’; David Wright is ‘Captain America’; Harvey is ‘The Dark Knight’ (DC rather than Marvel but I’m okay with it). My early favorite for Rafael Montero is ‘Hawkeye’, with his pinpoint accuracy and less than imposing size.

    Wheeler is more ‘Bruce Banner’ than ‘Hulk’ so that doesn’t fit. He’s not really Iron Man either. This is really perplexing me. What superhero is Zack Wheeler?!? Thoughts?

  5. blastingzone
    March 4, 2014 at 6:01 pm

    Just because Harvey and Wheeler needed sometime in AAA doesn’t mean Thor will! Doc Gooden did it why not Thor? I know everybody says the mets aren’t going anywhere this year so why rush him but maybe with Thor, Wheeler, a real SS, the mets might just win some more games than expected and even give the fans a reason to get excited and come back to citifield!! Of course
    that reason includes Granderson, Travis D, Colon, and the rest of the team but Thor could be
    the spark the mets need!!

    • AV
      March 4, 2014 at 8:02 pm

      Guys going from A ball to the majors are extremely rare. Outside of Doc Gooden and Jose Fernandez I can’t think of any but there might only be 2 or 3 others if at all. They are the exception rather than the norm. I’m not saying Thor can’t be one of them but a lot has to go right this Spring for that to happen.

      The worst part of knowing how rare it is is what makes the story of Dwight Gooden so tragic. He was a once-in-a-lifetime talent that threw it all away.

      • Name
        March 4, 2014 at 8:19 pm

        I don’t necessarily think that guys who can go from A ball to the majors are rare, but rather the GMs who deviate from the normal path and allow players the opportunity to go from A ball to the majors are rare.
        The GM gets very little credit when it works out, as you don’t see anyone hi-fiving the Marlins front office, and get all the blame and get bashed/ fired when it doesn’t work out and at the time of the decision.

        I’m sure there are more of the big jumpers but are brains are configured to remember the good ones more than the bad ones.

        • AV
          March 5, 2014 at 9:30 am

          “…you don’t see anyone hi-fiving the Marlins front office…”

          On the contrary, I think the Jose Fernandez decision is the ONLY thing anyone gives the Marlins’ front office credit for doing. They are pretty much universally hated otherwise and I believe the team president was even the first one voted off the island in the latest ‘Survivor’ series. That’s like throwing salt on a wound and then insulting that injury immediately afterward.

    • Name
      March 4, 2014 at 8:11 pm

      Counterargument:
      Just because Doc Gooden didn’t need some time in AAA doesn’t mean Thor won’t need it. Harvey and Wheeler didn’t do it why is Thor anymore special?

  6. Jim OMalley
    March 4, 2014 at 7:26 pm

    I agree; good article. The goal is to have him, Wheeler, and Harvey in the starting rotation at the beginning of next year. We can wait a couple of months for the extra year of control. Besides, we need to give the veterans time to imbue some words of wisdom onto the next generation

  7. March 4, 2014 at 9:26 pm

    I was wondering when Harvey comes back in 2015 if it wouldn’t be better to keep him in Florida after spring training and bring him to Queens when the weather warms up in May? He’ll also have his innings capped as well.

  8. March 4, 2014 at 9:35 pm

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