Noah Syndergaard knows he has all eyes on him. By June 16, Syndergaard could find himself as the crown jewel and No. 1 prospect for the Mets if Travis d’Arnaud and Zack Wheeler are called up to the show. The Mets boast a young crop of power pitching right-handers that include the likes of Rafael Montero, Luis Mateo and Domingo Tapia. Once Wheeler is promoted, at the top of that list of names will read Noah Syndergaard.
Syndergaard is a tall and imposing figure on the mound, standing in at 6-feet 6-inches is an intimidating presence. I had the chance to watch a bullpen session on Syndergaard and love what I see. His mechanics are effortless and the ball explodes out of his hand (High 90s fastball). His changeup is great, and while there have been some knocks on his curveball in the past, it looks like it is developing nicely. This kid is the goods.
Milb.com recently sat down with the former first round pick, and here are some highlights from the discussion they had with Syndergaard where they talk about how he felt when he heard he was traded, and of course, his curveball:
MiLB.com: So your first Spring Training with the Mets is just about over — how different was it as compared to your previous two with the Blue Jays?
Noah Syndergaard: It’s not that much different, some minor things here and there — the instructors and goals — but it’s still the same.
MiLB.com: How shocked were you when you heard you’d been traded — in a deal for the reigning Cy Young Award winner, no less?
Syndergaard: I was pretty shocked. I went to bed the previous night before the rumors started and I thought it would just be Anthony Gose and [Travis] d’Arnaud. And the next afternoon I saw my name was in the mix. I called my agent, he said it’s probably just a rumor. About 30 minutes later, he texted me and said, “It might go down.” A couple days after that, I got the call that they’d traded me. It was pretty exciting to be traded for a Cy Young winner.
MiLB.com: You told us a year ago that you modeled yourself after Nolan Ryan growing up. A little before your time, but was he your favorite player? Have you ever met him?
Syndergaard: Never met him. I don’t know who my favorite player is. I always followed the Rangers, and Josh Beckett would be one of them. But Ryan, I never saw him pitch.
MiLB.com: Where are your off-speed pitches at coming into Opening Day? Are you confident with your curveball and slider after working on things this Spring?
Syndergaard: Yeah, definitely, my curveball was really good today. It’s felt good in my bullpens — it’s a lot better than it was last year in the beginning of the season — so it’s a plus pitch for me right now, a strikeout pitch.
MiLB.com: What’s your mind-set on the mound? Can you hear the fans and the dugout and the hot dog vendors, or is that level of focus something you think all pitchers have to work on?
Syndergaard: I’m able to tune things out pretty well. When I was in school, my mom would ask me if I could hear yelling and I said, “I’ve never heard you once from the stands.” The other day, when I was throwing my live BP, I didn’t notice anything but the catcher.
MiLB.com: Do you feel like you’ve had any pressure being a first-round pick? Or now after being traded for R.A. Dickey?
Syndergaard: Kinda, not much as a first-round pick, but definitely being traded for a Cy Young winner. Hopefully, I can live up to the potential.
MiLB.com: When do you see yourself getting to New York? I know guys like to deflect the timetables back to the player development folks, but do you feel like you’re a year or so away?
Syndergaard: I would say I’m probably two years away, I’m guessing. But it’s whatever the organization decides. I’ve never been to New York.
You have to love that the kid recognizes that he has the spotlight on him and that he can deal with the weight of those very high expectations. Former first round pick, traded for the N.L. Cy Young Award winner, plays for an organization where the city (and media) never sleeps, and is the heir apparent to being the No 1. prospect of that same organization… Piece of cake…