In perhaps what is my favorite interview of our young prospect to date, David Laurila of FanGraphs profiled Noah Syndergaard after he made his Double-A debut last Sunday. The 6’6” right-hander, who is now gaining notoriety as “Thor”, looked very impressive and is advanced for his age.
There are some awesome quotes in the interview that I whole-heartedly recommend that you read, where he discusses his repertoire, mechanical changes, and his feelings about making his Double-A debut.
Syndergaard gives his own scouting report — stating that he throws a fastball in the high 90s with a curveball, slider, and a changeup. He touts the curveball as his second best pitch and explainst hat he felt like it really came into its own last year, and he likes the spin on it. He also mentions that the Blue Jays toyed with his slider a bit and almost turned it into a cutter — so he basically made his own adjustments to it and throws it the way he feels comfortable.
Here’s a little on what the Mets have done to develop him recently:
“I changed my arm angle a little bit before my last start in St. Lucie. My velocity was about the same as last night; I was topping out at 98. I’m using my core a lot more, and also my legs. [St. Lucie pitching coach] Phil Regan has kind of toyed with my mechanics a little bit. When he first got a hold of me, I was kind of on my heels and not using my legs as much as I should. He got me more on my toes and driving toward home plate. Instead of falling off the pitch, I was driving through the pitch. And instead of my arm being directly over the top, I dropped it down just a little bit. I’m more three-quarters than over the top now. I have a little more velocity, and a little more run on the ball.
Reading through this interview, I was amazed at how eloquent of a speaker Syndergaard was — reminiscent of R.A. Dickey and his gift of gab. Syndergaard had some moments where he talked like a scout — but my favorites were his quotes on his pitching mentality.
…I just went out with the mindset of locating my fastball to both sides of the plate, working in my changeup from there, and then, second time through the order, starting to mixing in my curveball and slider. I basically trusted Blake [Forsythe]. I had never thrown to him before, but he and I were on the same page the entire game. I didn’t shake him off once.
…In certain situations, I’ll pitch to contact. When there’s nobody on base, I’m just trying to locate my pitches, and if I happen to strike the guy out, that’s fine. If I have a runner on first base, I’ll throw a sinker away to try to get a ground ball double play. In the fifth inning, with a runner on first, I got a ground ball to second base. That’s exactly what I was going for. It was one of the pitches I executed well.
This kid knows his baseball. I had one thought coming off reading this interview — we found ourselves a keeper.
(Photo Credit: Gordon Donovan)