Noah Syndergaard sets his sights on becoming the next Gerrit Cole

Mets Spring Training 2020 (SNY)

Noah Syndergaard is synonymous with upside. The sky has always been his limit. The difference this year is that he’s the one saying it – and not us.

Noah Syndergaard, in March 2019, made a list put together by Bleacher Report of the Top Twenty-Five Pitchers in the big leagues. Finishing in the twelfth spot, Syndergaard went on to have one of his best seasons, putting aside health issues to make 32 starts.

But the accolades don’t stop there because, according to PITCHf/x, a pitch-tracking system installed in every major league ballpark since 2006:

Noah Syndergaard had MLB’s fastest four-seam fastball (98.1 mph), changeup (90.9 mph), slider (92.6 mph) and curveball (83.6 mph) among all 78 pitchers who threw at least 140.0 innings… His 0.52 overall HR/9 rate was the third-lowest in the majors (min. 150.0 innings)

Noah Syndergaard Oozes Something Special

But as Hall of Famer John Smoltz so aptly reminds us, “Throw away the numbers and let your eyes tell you everything you need to know.”

Yankees Must Have 2020 - Gerrit Cole (photo: ClutchPoints)
Yankees Must Have 2020 – Gerrit Cole (photo: ClutchPoints)

So apt, that even the most casual fan of baseball knows there is something special in watching the 6’6″ Syndergaard – Thor – as Mets fans have nicknamed him – throw a baseball.

In fact, nearly everyone is enamored with Noah Syndergaard – with dreams of Cy Youngs to match or better his teammate Jacob deGrom – everyone that is except for Syndergaard himself or so it seems.

“It is I vs. I really. It is overcoming the mental battle.” (Noah Syndergaard)

So, if you learned that Noah Syndergaard is setting his sights on Gerrit Cole, baseball’s premier pitcher over the last two years, you’d be (pleasantly) surprised.

Music To The Mets Ears

Joel Sherman, writing for the New York Post, caught up to Syndergaard at the Mets Spring Training camp, receiving these unsolicited words from the right-hander:

“As far as my numbers compared to Cole up until this point of my career, he had quite the payday this past offseason,” Syndergaard said. “I still have these two years until I am in his scenario [as a free agent]. His numbers were ridiculous [the past two years]. I would love to follow in his footsteps.” Joel Sherman, New York Post

Music to the ears of Mets fans and players that is the Noah Syndergaard no one has heard from. He’s not making predictions, but he is putting Cole in the same sentence he uses the word “I” twice.

That is a giant step for a man who many see as an underachiever with an undersized ego. Syndergaard, the receiver of whispers indicating, “the only problem that guy has is between his ears”.

“It is I vs. I”

The difference now is that Noah Syndergaard is stepping up to echo the same words:

“The hump I am trying to overcome right now is another me standing in the way,” he said. “It is I vs. I really. It is overcoming the mental battle.”

Noah Syndergaard, New York Mets (Photo:
Noah Syndergaard, New York Mets (Photo:

There’s the “I” word again – you have to love it. And most of all, Mets players have to love it.

Syndergaard won ten games for the Mets last season. His team won 86.

If he can add seven wins to that total, the Mets jump to 93 wins, virtually assured of making the playoffs or even a Division title.

Noah Syndergaard – Hey, Why Not?

Having two teammates finish one-two in the Cy Young voting has only been done five times -2019 AL: Justin Verlander & Gerrit Cole, Astros, 2002 NL: Randy Johnson & Curt Schilling, D-backs.

Randy Johnson & Curt Schilling did it again with the D-backs in 2001, 1974 NL: Mike Marshall & Andy Messersmith, Dodgers, and 1956 MLB: Don Newcombe & Sal Maglie, Dodgers.

Rare air of this kind is within the grasp of Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard. The Mets will go as far as their pitching takes them.

2020 is the beginning of the five-year run that will take Syndergaard through what is considered to be a starting pitcher’s prime years – ages 27-31. Stand by – this is going to be some ride.

And this time, Noah Syndergaard says so too.

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Author: stevecontursi

I am an amateur writer with a passion for baseball and all things Yankees and Mets.