Why Did Mets Go With Montero Instead Of Syndergaard?

noah syndergaard

Kevin Kernan of the NY Post believes the Mets chose the wrong pitching prospect to promote when they opted to name Rafael Montero the replacement for the injured Jacob deGrom instead of using the opportunity to usher in the MLB debut of Noah Syndergaard.

This would have been the perfect game to have Syndergaard make his major league debut. What’s wrong with offering the fans a little hope and a little Futures Game look at Syndergaard? Mets fans have been through so much, let them dream a little.

It would have made a dreary Tuesday night in mid-August at Citi Field much more exciting. Fans watching at home would find a reason to turn on SNY to see the big right-hander. Syndergaard would get a taste of the big time against a quality team.

I hear this from a lot of fans as well, but there are more than a few good reasons why the Mets went with Montero over Syndergaard – chief among them being that Montero (3.28 ERA) is ready and Syndergaard (4.78 ERA) is not. Syndergaard himself admits he’s not ready to take the plunge.

Montero is already on the 40 man roster and is coming off some dominating performances, if you believe that players should be rewarded based on merit, Montero is the choice hands down, just as deGrom was when he was promoted.

Additionally, the Mets have made it very clear that when they do decide it’s time for Syndergaard it’s because they believe he’s 100% ready and here to stay.

I get where Kevin and a lot of fans are coming from. But don’t you think it’s time we run our minor league system based on making good, solid baseball decisions and not because it would be more “fun and exciting” for fans? Haven’t we had enough of that and the failure that’s often come with it?

(Joe D.)

August 11

Andy Martino of the NY Daily News writes that as Noah Syndergaard waits for the day when he receives the call to join the Mets, he finds himself under a heavy burden of great expectations and has also endured some rough growing pains along the way.

“This is the first time in my life, that I have really struggled,” Syndergaard tells the Daily News.

Syndergaard has struggled this season at times even looking less like Thor and more like brother Loki, but in reality he understands that at 21 years old, his time will come.

“I don’t feel like I’m ready quite yet, but if I were to get the call tomorrow, I would find a way to get the job done, somehow,” says Syndergaard.

Las Vegas 51s skipper Wally Backman feels the same way about Thors’ confidence in his abilities, “When you’re ready, you know. He will know,” says Backman.

Martino adds that Syndergaard is the Mets’ third consecutive Phenom of the Moment, and his repertoire is comparable to, if not slightly better than, Matt Harvey’s and Zack Wheeler’s.

“His stuff is just as good as any of them,” says Backman. “Mentally, he is younger.”

Because of Syndergaard’s talent, people tend to forget that if he were to make his debut this season, he would still be two years younger than when Harvey and Wheeler debuted at 23 years old.

“It is kind of challenging sometimes, because playing in New York, they have all these expectations,” says Syndergaard. “The fan base, they can love you, and then the next start wouldn’t live up to their expectations, and they will shun you for that. So (paying attention to that) is something I’ve tried to stay away from.”

Syndergaard hasn’t won a game for Vegas since July 22, but you wouldn’t know it the way he has pitched prior to Thursday’s game against the Isotopes. In two games where he earned a no decision, he tossed five innings, allowing one earned run on five hits and striking out eight and followed that up by throwing six shutout innings on six hits and striking out seven. But during Thursday’s loss the momentum hit a wall as he struggled to find his groove taking the loss in five innings of work, allowing four runs on seven hits while striking out just four batters.

“It’s hard to make adjustments,” Syndergaard says. “but that’s the big step, and what separates a minor league pitcher from a big league pitcher.”

Martino writes that Syndergaard thought he would be in New York already because at the beginning of the season, he expected to follow the same path as Harvey and Wheeler before him. But in the early part of the season he followed Twitter allowing the internet to take too much of his time worrying about his status.

“Going into the season, I put a lot of expectations on myself to be in New York by now, and to help the Mets continue to some wins, and a playoff push,” he says. “So I think that was something I paid way too much attention to. I paid more attention to that than just paying attention to the fact that I was in Vegas for a reason.”

“At the time, you don’t really think of it as pressure, but once you finish that level and come to this level, you do realize that you were putting too much pressure on yourself,” Harvey recalls his anxiousness as he waited for his debut.

With Frank Viola‘s return from heart surgery to pitching coach of the 51s, he has been a huge help for the struggling pitching phenom.

“It’s easy when a kid is willing to listen and take chances,” Viola says. “It has been really easy to talk to him, to relate to him.”

“He gets to minor league ball, and he has no idea who he is as a pitcher,” Viola says. “He gets in trouble, he goes to his 97-mph fastball. It worked in low-A, it worked in high-A, it worked in Double-A, but guess what? It doesn’t work in Triple-A.”

The call to the bigs is what Syndergaard has been waiting for since he started pitching in the minors and if Viola was asked the question if the kid was ready now, it may be a hard decision to make.

“I would be right on the edge,” says Viola. “I would want to be careful, because it could set him back a little bit, knowing his psyche, and his age and experience. But I also know that he’s a lot tougher inside than a lot of people realize. He might be able to get through it, but it’s touchy…”

Viola adds, “I would probably lean towards holding back a little bit longer, but knowing that it’s not that far off.”


About David Conde 205 Articles
David was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY and is a lifelong Mets fan.