A-Ball Thursday: Heavily Armed – Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz

A+: @ St. Lucie Mets 17, Palm Beach Cardinals 1 

Syndergaard Stl HeadThe Mets had a four-run inning, a five-spot and a six-pack. So that’s cool.

However, the most important thing was another dominant starts from RHP Noah Syndergaard (pictured): 7 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K. Since a three-inning mess against Fort Myers on April 18, Syndergaard has gone six innings or more in each of his last four starts for a combined line of: 0.69 ERA, 26 IP, 20 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 6 BB, 23 K, 97 TBF. The scouting reports see big-time potential here.

The other day, a scout told me when I asked about Syndergaard, “Oh, man. That’s the kind of arm that my wife could take one look at him and tell you that he’ll pitch in the big leagues if he stays healthy.” The idea here is not misogyny but Syndergaard’s obvious talent and size.

Five different Mets had multi-hit nights led by SS Matt Reynolds who was 3-for-5 with two doubles, a triple and five RBI. The 22-year old is hitting .277/.356/.412 in 31 games. He now has as many extra-base hits in six games in May as he did in 25 games in April.

Ooops. 3B Aderlin Rodriguez, who I wrote about at a little length yesterday, was the only Met without a hit in a 0-for-6 performance.


A: @ Savannah Sand Gnats 3, Rome Braves 1 

Steven Matz: 6 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 1 HR. The homer he allowed was on a 2-1 pitch up and out over the plate that right-handed hitting 1B Casey Kalenkosky parked over the rightfield wall.

This was an odd start to watch. It did not feel as though Matz had great command of his fastball (he threw a ball on the first pitch to over 50% of the batters he faced), but he did not walk a batter until one out in the sixth. So, while his location wavered at times, he was largely in the zone. This is some kind of progress. As far as pitch selection, Matz threw almost exclusively fastballs. I had him over 90 pitches and don’t remember either 10 sliders or 10 changeups. If he threw that many, of either, I missed them from the pressbox. I recall one good slider at the bottom of the zone in the middle innings. I suppose it’s a good thing that Matz can go through a decent a-ball lineup working heavily off his fastball. Most a-ball hitters cannot handle his left-handed heat. As any pitching coach will tell you, fastball command comes first. Matz is willing to throw inside and move a batter’s feet. Still, the slider has potential, and I’d like to see him throw it more in games.

Maikis De La Cruz was 2-for-4 in his SAL debut in rightfield. De La Cruz took the roster spot created when the Mets placed Bradon Nimmo on the DL this week.

At the top of the order, 22-year old CF Eudy Pina was 2-for-5. He’s now hitting .407/.500/.704 in seven games in May after a .224/.330/.342 line in 22 games in April. Before the game, Gnats’ manager pointed to Pina as a guy who had made improvements in his approach with Gnats’ hitting coach Joel Fuentes.

The Gnats scored three times in the bottom of the sixth inning using one hit, two walks, a HBP, a sac fly, and a throwing error.

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