The Mets watch and wait for Noah Syndergaard to become the dominating pitcher they know he is. At only 26, history is on his side as a late bloomer…
Mets fans look in awe at the image Noah Syndergaard presents when he takes the mound. Chiseled in stone at 6’6″ 240 lbs, aptly nicknamed Thor, there is an air of excitement suggesting something extraordinary could be on the way.
Unique like the game Syndergaard threw mid-May last season against the Cincinnati Reds when he pitched a complete-game 1-0 win while driving in himself with a home run (right).
The kind of game that moved Sam Miller of ESPN to declare that Syndergaard’s performance called for something more than a “win.”
So Miller tagged it as “A Gibson,” referring, of course, to the dominating and intimidating blow-away games Bob Gibson was heralded for on his way to the Hall of Fame.
In the same vein, a coach, who wished to remain anonymous, said of his frustration at times in watching Syndergaard pitch – “If you told him to go out there and throw a no-hitter, he would.”
Some bloom early, some bloom late
We expect a lot from Noah Syndergaard – but you know what – he’s given a lot. To illustrate, here’s a table I made of a few notable pitchers and their records at Syndergaard’s age of 26.
- Nolan Ryan 69-70 .496 Win Pct.
- Jacob deGrom 0-0 (deGrom’s first year came when he was 26)
- Gerrit Cole 59-42 .584 Win Pct.
- Sandy Koufax 68-60 .531 Win Pct.
- Bob Gibson 34-36 .485 Win Pct.
- Noah Syndergaard 47-30 .610 Win Pct.
What we see here are three pitchers, including three Hall of Famers and a two-time Cy Young winner, whose career did not fully develop until after the age of 26. And we also see that Noah Syndergaard has a higher win-percentage than any of them at this stage.
It’s all relative, though, with one thing being clear. Syndergaard is doing pretty well for a pitcher his age, and there’s no reason not to believe even better things are coming.
For some, the transition from a thrower to a major league pitcher takes some time. Only a few seem to “get it” from the get-go.
For instance, by the time they were 26, Justin Verlander was 65-43 with a .601 Win Pct. And Clayton Kershaw was a remarkable 98-49 with a Win Pct. of .667.
For such a big man, at times, Syndergaard seems to carry a small view of himself to the mound. He has difficulty in trusting his pitches, especially his devasting (when it’s working) slider.
Former Mets pitching coaching coach Dave Eiland summed it up with this characterization: “His thoughts on it are very negative. If you always have a negative thought on something, it’s not going to be very good.”
We are all mortal, and Syndergaard’s thoughts moving to the dark side are no different from failing a Geometry test in high school that we were convinced we couldn’t possibly pass.
Or, perhaps, not asking someone for a date because there was no way the response would be yes…
Noah Syndergaard will carry the weight
The Mets expect Noah Syndergaard to be the guy who follows one of deGrom’s gems to open a weekend series with a division rival with one of his own. Thereby, enabling the team to be assured of a series win by Sunday’s end, and even a possible sweep.
Syndergaard officially is entering what is commonly thought to be the prime years of his career (27-31).
On numerous occasions, Brodie Van Wagenen has fielded called from teams interested in a trade for Syndergaard.
He’s still here, and there’s a good reason for that.
The odds are that Noah Syndergaard, like the pitchers mentioned above, is just getting started, and his career is similarly about to take off.
I’m not betting against him…