While it may be hard to believe now, 2017 was supposed to be a special year for the Mets.
It was supposed to be the first time the Mets’ super rotation of Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz, and Zack Wheeler would all pitch together. It was supposed to be the first time in franchise history that the Mets made the playoffs in three consecutive seasons.
Another World Series appearances wasn’t too far-fetched either. On March 23, Vegas oddsmakers had the Mets tied for seventh with the Houston Astros to win the Fall Classic.
However, the wheels quickly fell off for the Mets. Perhaps the biggest blow of them all occurred on Apr. 30 when Syndergaard partially tore his lat.
Syndergaard was an essential part to the Mets’ success from 2015-2016.
The Mets didn’t make the playoffs easily both years as they only won 90 and 87 games, respectively. If you take Syndergaard out of that equation, the Mets may have missed the postseason in one or both of those years.
If Syndergaard can stay healthy in 2018, the Mets could have a much improved team.
Of course Syndergaard’s health isn’t the be-all-end-all. A lot of other things went wrong in 2017 and the Mets enter 2018 with more questions than they’d like.
A healthy Syndergaard would be a good start nonetheless and it’s more realistic than a healthy Harvey, Matz, or Wheeler. That’s due to the fact that his issue was merely a soft tissue injury while their issues were more serious.
After adding 17 pounds of muscle before coming into spring training, Syndergaard wanted to throw harder in 2017. However, after his injury in April, he began changing his mentality.
“I think I’ll be mostly the same guy,” Syndergaard said in September according to CBS Sports. “I’d like to have a little more body control, as I don’t necessarily have to be max effort every pitch. That way if I can work comfortably like 96 and pump it up to 100, 101 when I need to, then I think that’s like adding an extra pitch to your repertoire.”
So far this offseason, Syndergaard has worked with trainers Eric Cressey and Shane Rye according to Anthony DiComo of MLB.com. Both trainers are helping him incorporate more speed and flexibility into his regimen.
Also the time he spent with the Canadian Olympic sprint coach is bringing his workouts beyond just weightlifting.
“I’m still lifting heavy, but in a more smart way,” Syndergaard said. “Last year was not necessarily the smartest thing I was supposed to be doing in terms of exercise choice. It’s different. It’s still taxing workouts. But my body has never felt better.”
Who knows what the results of these workouts will be in the end. Regardless it’s nice to see Syndergaard take a smart and safe approach to the upcoming season after what happened last season.