(Photo by David Conde, Metsmerized Online)
I just read a fascinating column by the new Mets beat writer for The Record, Matt Ehalt, who you may remember from ESPN New York last Summer. Ehalt profiles Noah Syndergaard and delves into some of the things we seldom hear about him and also peppers his piece with some interesting quotes from Pedro Lopez, Sandy Alderson and J.P. Ricciardi who explains how Syndergaard came to be a part of the package we received in return for R.A. Dickey.
“I think eventually it got to the point where we needed Syndergaard. We were trading a major league player and not getting any major league players back,” said J.P. Ricciardi, the Mets’ special assistant to the GM. “I think in order to finish it off, we needed a younger, higher prospect to make us say, ‘OK, it’s worth trading a Cy Young Award winner.’ ”
Among other things, Ehalt talks to Syndergaard about his “hook from hell” and his developing change, which could take him from good to great.
One of the things I found interesting was Thor’s devotion to weight-lifting and fitness.
He is 6 feet 6, 240 pounds, and appears to be made of granite. There’s a reason teammates placed a photo of fictional boxer Ivan Drago, from “Rocky IV,’’ on his nameplate inside the Tradition Field clubhouse.
He squats 460 pounds and can dead lift more than 500, living up to his nickname of “Thor.” In a sport where tall, lanky pitchers can dominate, not many look like Syndergaard, whose devotion to fitness began in his teens at Mansfield Legacy High School (Texas), where he was drafted 38th by the Blue Jays in 2010.
Syndergaard’s massive frame creates a plane that makes it tough for hitters to pick up his pitches.
“It’s a huge advantage, I think,” Syndergaard said. “Just being able to use my body to the fullest and use my height and size to give myself the best chance to get a hitter out.”
Maybe we should call him The Hulk too… You can read the full article here and I highly recommend that you do.
As expected, Syndergaard was reassigned to minor-league camp on Tuesday, but there’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that we’ll see him again.
For now, the Mets will challenge him at Triple-A until at least June or July, assuming he can show the team he has developed enough to compete at the big league level. In addition to improving his command, Syndergaard will continue to work on developing his changeup.
The plan is to cap his starts at five innings so that he’ll be able to get substantial work at the major league level and still stay under 150 innings pitched this season.
Syndergaard will join Rafael Montero and Jacob deGrom to form a lethal threesome in Las Vegas, where they could very well dominate the Pacific Coast League in 2014. And who knows, but Jenrry Mejia could join the rotation too.
“We’re going to be probably one of the best rotations in baseball,” Syndergaard told Mike Puma of The Post. “Those names on that list, who knows where everyone is going to be?”