[sny-editorial userid="tobyhyde"]Keith Law was on Buster Olney’s Baseball Tonight podcast last week. He discussed Noah Syndergaard.
Here’s what he had to say (emphasis mine):[/sny-editorial]
For Syndergaard, the issue has always been the breaking ball…. When he was drafted, he was a big kid who threw hard – really easy delivery – but no breaking ball. I actually talked to Syndergaard before the Future’s Game last year, and said to him, “What are you throwing now, both curveball and a slider?” He said, “yeah, I’ve got both. It doesn’t really matter to me which one turns out to be the weapon, but I’m going to need a plus breaking ball if I’m going to be a really good Major League pitcher.” It seems like every couple of months, the breaking ball, the curve ball specifically, just improves a little bit. I think the curveball is going to be the weapon for him. It was above average at the end of last year, and flashing a little better than that in Spring Training. I think that’s going to be the separator.
For the Mets, the challenge is how long you leave him in a tough environment… where the ball doesn’t necessarily break as much as it will when you’re playing at sea level. Will he be better able to refine the pitch there? Or, are you better off just bringing him to the big leagues once you get to an appropriate date for the service time to say, “Well, he might have to continue his development at the big league level, but the command and velocity are good enough to continue refining the curveball once he’s in the majors”?
This is a more positive assessment of Syndergaard’s curveball than Law offered in January in his Top 100 prospect writeups.
“His changeup is comfortably plus already, but his curveball, a grade-40ish pitch in high school and early in his pro career, is already solid average, and plays up because he gets on top of the ball and releases so close to the plate; hitters swing and miss at it like it’s a sharper, harder pitch.”
Again, in January, Law called it average. In April, he called it plus.