There’s a contrarian impulse in me, but I cannot break from the consensus here; Thor is the top prospect in the Mets’ system.
Height/Weight: 6’6”, 200 lbs
Acquired: Trade with Toronto with John Buck, Travis d’Arnaud and Wuilmer Becerra for R.A. Dickey, Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas
Born: 8/29/92 (Mansfield, TX)
2013 Rank: #3 | Stats
Why Ranked Here: He’s the best prospect in the Mets system, and barring injury, he should be up in the Majors in 2014 where he could make an immediate impact. In a perfect world, he would be the Mets’ #2 starter behind Matt Harvey on the club’s next playoff team.
First, Syndergaard is huge. He’s really 6’6”. He’s built like a truck. His weight lifting regime is now the stuff of legend. It’s not just meathead strength either, he’s embraced yoga for flexibility and to prevent injuries. If any pitcher can hold up to the rigors of a Major League season, it should be Thor, a nickname Syndergaard has embraced.
Any discussion of Syndergaard’s stuff starts with his fastball. He can sit 94-96, with reach back to 98 or 100. He commands the offering well and has good “plane” down through the zone on the pitch. He mixes two and four seam varieties.
In 2013, Syndergaard’s curveball passed his changeup as his second-best pitch. It’s a hard, short breaker in the 81-84 mph range. This should be an average pitch by the time Syndergaard makes his big league debut with a chance to be a plus offering.
The changeup is upper 80s, which is fine given that it’s 8ish miles off the fastball. However, when it’s not down at the knees, it’s a batting practice fastball at that velocity.
Syndergaard has started messing around with a slider which he credits with helping him throw his curveball harder. For now, it’s his fourth offering.
One of the remarkable features of Syndergaard’s game is his control. In the season in which he turned 21 in late August, he walked 6.2% of batters in the Florida State League and 5.6% in the AA Eastern League. That’s better than average. Syndergaard had ONE four walk start (April 13, 2013, @ Fort Myers) and ONE three walk start (July 17 v. Richmond). In his other 21 starts, he walked two or fewer batters. By contrast, in the season in which he turned 21, Zack Wheeler had six starts of four walks or more, four with three walks and 12 with two walks or fewer on his way to a 10.5% walk rate. Wheeler did not pitch in AA in the season in which he was 21. Long story short, Syndergaard is ahead of Wheeler at the same age.
2013: The Mets started the recently acquired Syndergaard in advanced-A. The idea was that he would pair with fellow 20-year-old Michael Fulmer, with whom he became friends in Spring Training at the front of the St. Lucie rotation. However, while Fulmer was working his way back from meniscus surgery, Syndergaard was dominating the League. By the time Fulmer returned on July 7, Syndergaard had already made three starts in AA after his promotion on June 23.
In an effort to limit his workload, the Mets did not let Syndergaard go past five innings in any of his four August starts.
However, Syndegaard was at his most dominant at the end of the year. Leaving out his final start of the year, on August 26, which came after he had been skipped in the rotation, in four starts from July 28 through August 16, Syndergaard allowed one run, on a solo home run, and eight hits with 26 strikeouts and two walks in 21 innings over four starts. Batters hit a collective .116/.141/.188 against him in 71 plate appearances.
Dr. Pangloss Says: Thor is the #2 to Matt Harvey’s Batman in a series of Mets’ playoff appearances from 2015-2020 and a legitimate star in his own right.
Debbie Downer Says: The changeup just does not come along, and he’s more AJ Burnett (a fastball/curveball starter). Or he’s monster at the back of a bullpen.
Projected 2014 Start: AAA Las Vegas
MLB Arrival: June or July 2014.
[sny-table rowheader=true columnheader=true] ;ERA;G/GS;IP;H;R;ER;HR;BB;SO;HBP;WP;
2013 EL;3.00;11/11;54;46;23;18;8;12;69;0;2; 2013
[sny-table rowheader=true columnheader=true]
2013 Total;2.1;10.2;4.8;0.8;8.2;3.7;5.9;28.2;472; [/sny-table]