Mets fans did not appreciate enough what a fine season Noah Syndergaard had in 2018. While all of the attention was rightly focused on the tremendous year put up by Jacob deGrom, Syndergaard put up a season right in the ballpark with his All-Star campaign of 2016. But there were the DL trips that limited him to 25 starts and the hits and stolen bases allowed that distracted people from the actual results he was compiling.

Syndergaard missed about seven weeks with a finger injury. He came back and made two more starts before coming down with HFMD. When he went on the DL for the second time, Syndergaard was 6-1 with a 2.89 ERA. Despite allowing a .356 BABIP in this stretch, opponents managed just a .685 OPS against him. Among qualified pitchers at the end of the year, Nick Pivetta had the highest BABIP against in the majors with a .326 mark. And Pivetta’s OPS allowed was .743 – 58 points higher than Syndergaard’s despite having a BABIP 30 points lower.

When Syndergaard returned from the second DL trip, he had four starts that were shaky. One could make the case that he returned too soon from the viral infection he suffered. Then in his final eight starts, Syndergaard was 5-1 with a 2.35 ERA. The stolen bases against him were manageable – seven steals in eight games, compared to 12 in the previous four outings – and he allowed just a .278 BABIP in this closing stretch. But by this point the narrative had already been established.

When healthy – combining his numbers from before the second DL trip and his final eight games of the year – Syndergaard was 11-2 with a 2.66 ERA. He had 33 BB and 133 Ks in 128.1 IP over 21 starts. That still wasn’t as good as deGrom. But in most years, those numbers over 30+ starts puts you firmly in the discussion for post-season hardware.

So, what do the computer models see from Syndergaard in 2019?

Marcel — 10-6, 3.21 ERA, 140 IP, 38 BB, 147 Ks, 10 HR
Steamer – 11-10, 3.51 ERA, 176 IP, 46 BB, 183 Ks, 18 HR

Back-to-back injury-shortened years has these projections really bearish on his ability to throw 200 innings. It seems unlikely he’ll suffer HFMD again and hopefully the lat injury he suffered in 2017 will not be a factor again, either. Syndergaard’s final numbers in 2018 included a 3.03 ERA and he holds a 2.93 career ERA, so Steamer’s projection in this category seems off to me. A large part of the problem seems to be those 18 HR, which comes out to a 0.92 HR/9. In the last three seasons, Syndergaard has surrendered 20 HR in 368.1 IP, for a 0.5 HR/9 rate.

Here is my biased forecast for Syndergaard:

15-7, 2.80 ERA, 190 IP, 53 BB, 201 Ks, 12 HR

Filled with offseason optimism, it was difficult not to predict 200 innings from Syndergaard. But that’s a total he’s never reached in his career and the 190 forecasted above would represent a career-high in the majors for him and an increase of 35.2 IP from a season ago. The peripherals come out to a 2.68 FIP, so a 2.80 ERA is not expecting him to be unusually lucky.

You’ll have more credibility in the future if you chime in now with what you think Syndergaard will do this year. Next week, Brandon Nimmo goes under the forecast microscope.

12 comments on “Mets 2019 projections: Noah Syndergaard

  • Pete

    I think his confidence and maturity will pay dividends this year.
    WL 15 – 5
    IP – 195 innings
    215 K’s
    45 BB’s
    ERA 2.40,
    HR – 15
    With the addition of Ramos as catcher we’ll see if it helps him in 2019

  • David Klein

    Agreed on his season being under appreciated I saw people in another blog give him an C grade for his 2018, which is absurd. I do think he needs to improve his pitch sequencing as he throws too many hittable two strike pitches and needs to work up in the zone more. I think steamer’s prediction of that E.r.a is ludicrous honestly. I would ten to agree with your projection just hope he stays healthy.

  • Chris F

    I dont put much value on predictions past what a magic 8 ball could say, so in correspondingly fuzzy numbers:

    3 ERA
    ~ 200 K
    > 20 starts
    0 CG
    < 190 IP

    Unfortunately to this point Syndergaard has the view that he can only be successful pitching to the bottom of the zone. Hitters have made those adjustments, and we regularly see the letter high FB being missed by miles in put away counts. If Callaway and Eiland get Noah to throw E-W and N-S in the zone he could be a weapon at the level of Jake. If he doubles down on low, lower, lowest I think the numbers get worse over time.

    He also has been limited because of high pitch counts, which get him removed. I'd like to see him netting 20-22 outs per game.

    • Pete

      Chris I understand your fuzzy numbers but 20 starts – 190 IP? With 0 complete games? Very fuzzy indeed.

      • Chris F

        I dont put any value at all on predictions. Generally, that would be a pretty fab season. What it means is a guy thats doing his job at the top of a rotation. The numbers are all just guesswork or calculations absent major error bars.

  • Pete

    With a better bullpen there’s no need to go beyond 6 innings I do wonder how many games the pen blew last year for him? So with a better pen and a better clearly defined expectation I can’t why there wouldn’t be more optimism in 2019. Learn from JDG and let hitters get themselves out.

    • Brian Joura

      By my count, the bullpen cost Syndergaard two wins last year.

      4/26 – left after 7.1 IP leading 2-1 but with runners on the corners with one out. Tying run scored in 8th.
      9/25 – left after six innings leading 3-0 and pen let up 4 in the 7th and 3 in the 8th

      Can’t really complain about the first one but even if you could, two games is not a big number.

  • Pete from NJ

    I love your off season optimism. I don’t know if anyone else, while watching him pitch says to himself: “how does anyone hit his stuff.”

    I think with a more mature pitching theory his numbers can and should be in the 2.50 ERA range.

  • Eraff

    Somewhere toward the end of the Season, I saw Syndergaard watching deGrom pitch. Noah was on the top step… it was middle innings. He was leaning on the railing with his eyes glued on the Mound.

    I tried to imagine that He was beginning to internalize the Fact that the guy on the mound was doing things that He (Noah) was not yet capable of doing.

    He is a very, very good pitcher…and he has a great Arm. I’m hoping that “my take” was correct— that he’s come to a conclusion that he needs to rework his pitching brain.

    He’s a really nice Pitcher, as is. I expect him to have a better year. I’m predicting that we will see him add something more than velocity. I think He “Get’s it”

    • Brian Joura

      I don’t know if Syndergaard copied or has plans to copy deGrom. But I do know that Wheeler has done this, even going so far as to copy deGrom’s between starts pitching regimen.

  • Remember1969

    At one point, perhaps a month and a half ago, I did some ‘Bold Predictions for 2019. My statement was that the Mets would pull in their 2nd Cy Young award in 2 years, but this time it would be Syndergaard that will get it. You guys have hit on the one thing that could prevent it and that is the number of innings he might pitch. I am going to be aggressive with:

    2.62 ERA
    225 IP
    15 HR
    238 K
    51 BB
    31 starts

    Obviously this predicts all time bests for virtually every category – but I am bullish on his putting everything together, staying healthy, and being the pitcher everybody talks about. He certainly has the physical size and shape to throw that much – Scherzer has more than 238K for each of the last 6 years. There is no reason Thor cannot do the same.

  • footballhead

    Out of the country when these earlier projections were posted, so I hope I’m not too late to add mine. Again; I’ll assume an injury free year of 32 starts for “Thor”.

    16-9 2.80 era 232 k’s in 215 innings. Walks will be up to 70 however + 22 HRs.

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