Mets360 2014 projections: Rafael Montero and Noah Syndergaard

In 2012, Matt Harvey came up and announced his presence with authority. Last year Zack Wheeler came up, dominated the Braves and by the end of the year had established himself as ready for prime time. These two may have created some unrealistic expectations for future rookies that the Mets promote. Right now we are eagerly, and likely unrealistically, awaiting the major league debuts of Rafael Montero and Noah Syndergaard.

For years, my go-to example was Greg Maddux. Everyone knows Maddux, 300-game winner and one of the greatest pitchers of his – or any other – generation. In his major league debut he had a 5.52 ERA in 31 IP and his first full season in the majors he posted a 5.61 ERA in 155.2 IP. Whenever someone got excited about a rookie pitcher, my reply was always – how much better is he than Maddux?

Despite what Harvey and Wheeler have done the past two seasons, it’s still wise to keep the lesson of Maddux in mind. It’s very common for young pitchers to struggle in their initial exposure to the majors.

But as fans, it’s nearly impossible to do that. We see the numbers about how both Montero and Syndergaard toyed with hitters last year in the high minors. We read the glowing scouting reports, especially about Syndergaard, and even think about how they should open the season in the majors, much like Dwight Gooden 30 years ago. And then they get off to strong starts in Spring Training and it appears the sky’s the limit.

So, will we be cautious in our expectations of these rookies or do we expect the next version of Harvey? Here are our MLB predictions in 2014 for the Mets’ two hot prospects, starting with Montero, including if we think he’ll be in the Mets’ rotation in September:

IP ERA K BB HR FIP Rotation
Ferguson 60.0 4.25 40 13 4 3.38 yes
Flattery 53.0 4.08 38 16 7 4.39 no
Hangley 95.0 3.74 72 21 15 4.40 No
Joura 77.0 3.33 68 25 7 3.59 yes
Koehler 30.0 2.75 28 6 1 2.37 No
Manners 100.0 3.90 80 30 8 3.54 yes
McCarthy 67.0 2.99 56 11 3 2.60 yes
O’Malley 68.0 3.70 56 17 5 3.26 Yes
Parker 90 3.55 70 20 4 2.89 Yes
Vasile 90.0 4.20 75 15 4 2.61 yes
Walendin 66.2 3.57 55 14 1 2.37 yes

So much for caution. No one expects him to have an ERA over 4.20 while Mike Koehler and Julian McCarthy think he’ll end up with an ERA in the twos, although Mike thinks it will be in a much-shorter span. We all expect Montero to retain his excellent command, although some of think he will have trouble with the gopher ball, especially Charlie Hangley.

Most fans think Syndergaard is the better prospect. Do we think he’ll have as successful of a debut as Montero? Here are our projections for the younger of the two hot prospects:

IP ERA K BB HR FIP Rotation
Ferguson 100.0 3.25 90 30 8 3.34 yes
Flattery 68.2 3.01 72 22 4 2.82 yes
Hangley 90.0 2.73 87 15 8 2.92 Yes
Joura 48.0 3.50 45 25 5 4.24 no
Koehler 65.0 3.50 67 17 3 2.52 Yes
Manners 80.0 3.60 90 30 9 3.54 Yes
McCarthy 45.0 3.37 58 19 6 3.62 yes
O’Malley 88.0 3.86 74 21 7 3.27 Yes
Parker 75.0 3.90 70 25 10 4.07 No
Vasile 105.0 3.56 110 30 9 3.08 yes
Walendin 50.1 3.87 61 18 4 2.88 yes

Here we see even less caution. No one predicts Sydergaard will end up with an ERA in the fours. Everyone besides me expects him to have a K/BB ratio of 3.0 or greater. Scott Ferguson and Joe Vasile both predict Syndergaard to finish with tripe digits innings pitched totals. All in all these are some heavy expectations.

Here’s what the group as a whole expects from Montero and Syndergaard this year:

MonteroThor2014Stats

Perhaps most interestingly is that we expect Montero to have a superior FIP yet we expect Syndergaard’s actual ERA to be 20 points better. Essentially, we expect both pitchers to hurl a similar number of innings, with Montero being slightly more “unlucky.” If there’s a dotted line for us to sign to get 146.1 IP of a roughly 3.60 ERA from these two, we should all sign it immediately.

I am as guilty as the next guy for having unrealistic expectations for Montero and Syndergaard. All of us should make a promise not to jump off the bandwagon if these two pitchers end up more like Maddux than Harvey in their MLB debuts.

But wouldn’t it be great if they were stars from the moment they first pitched in the majors?

7 comments for “Mets360 2014 projections: Rafael Montero and Noah Syndergaard

  1. Metsense
    March 10, 2014 at 8:43 am

    Montero has been compared to Gee so if he gets to pitch regularly I’ll take the 2012 version of Gee as a positive sign.
    4.10 ERA, 3.71 FIP, 110 innings,97 K’s and 29 walks.
    Syndergaard will equal Harvey’s rookie campaign and eventually be the ace of the staff.
    no matter how screwed up the Wilpon’s run a franchise I see a championship in the very near future because of a rotation of Syndergaard, Harvey, Wheeler, Mejia and Niese (with Gee or Montero as insurance). Giddy I guess!

  2. Joe Gomes
    March 10, 2014 at 10:02 am

    Syndergaard will end up leading the Mets rotation but not because of Harvey’s failure but because Harvey being “too full of himself”, will force the Mets to trade him for a front line shortstop and prospects. Harvey just started his career and already thinks he is the King Of NY.

  3. March 10, 2014 at 11:47 am

    I’ve got Montero in the Mets pen and Thor in the starting rotation by September.

  4. Patrick Albanesius
    March 10, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    Other than his incessant desire to pitch in 2014, what makes you say that Harvey thinks of himself in that regard?

    • March 10, 2014 at 1:43 pm

      If this is directed towards me, I have no idea what you mean. If it’s directed at another poster in the thread, please hit the “Reply” button under the appropriate comment.

  5. Captain America
    March 10, 2014 at 7:00 pm

    I predict Montero will be a mariner this month.

    And Thor all be up with the mets in June.

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