One of the bright spots for the New York Mets this spring is pitching prospect Noah Syndergaard, who is coming off a two-inning, five-strikeout performance in last Thursday’s intrasquad game.
Today, he’ll face the Atlanta Braves at the Disney complex near Orlando.
“I kind of shocked myself a little bit,’’ Syndergaard said of his intrasquad outing. “I wasn’t expecting that my first time out there.’’
Syndergaard, who stands an imposing 6-foot-5, throws a nasty curveball and can blow a 97-98 mph fastball by you. That’s a good beginning, but to become an effective major league starter, he’ll need a third pitch.
“I’m excited, a little nervous at the same time,’’ Syndergaard said of today’s exhibition start. “It’s the first time facing a real big-league lineup. I’m going to go out there and do what I can. It’s still a game. They’re still playing baseball out there.’’
The Mets don’t anticipate bringing up Syndergaard until mid-June, instead, they made clear that either Daisuke Matsuzaka or John Lannan will be the fifth-starter candidate to open the season. Three weeks a go both were singed from baseball’s scrapheap to minor league deals.
At the start of spring training, Jenrry Mejia was also listed as a fifth-starter possibility, but there appears a growing sentiment that he’ll likely end up in the bullpen or minor leagues despite a handful of tantalizing starts last season when he showed just how dominating he could be.
* Expect outfielder Eric Young to see time today.
• After three games the Mets remain winless in Grapefruit League play and have been outscored 21-6.
Photo by Brad Barr, USATSI