Top prospect Noah Syndergaard was sent to minor league camp Tuesday after opening eyes during his time with the Mets in big league camp. He’ll likely make his Mets debut in June or July – with a finite number of innings attached to his right arm for 2014.
Typically, developing pitchers increase their workload by roughly 30 innings per year. Since Syndergaard tossed 124 2/3 innings total last season, he’ll very likely be limited to 155 or so innings pitched in 2014.
With that in mind, Adam Rubin of ESPN New York spoke to Paul DePodesta about the innings plan for Syndergaard. Rubin asked DePodesta if the Mets would consider capping Syndergaard at five innings per start until his promotion to the majors, at times having him throw a bullpen session instead of making a scheduled start, and/or using him in a six-man rotation with Triple-A Las Vegas to spread his starts out further. According to DePodesta, all of those options are being considered:
We’re still designing the plan, but it may include a number of the elements you mention. I don’t think it’s just about April. Rather, it will be a plan that attempts to lay out, in a general sense, his entire year. Therefore, it’s not just a matter of being overly restrictive early and then removing all restrictions.
It makes total sense for the Mets to limit the amount of innings Syndergaard tosses per start while he’s with Triple-A Las Vegas. For one, the Mets will be saving Syndergaard’s bullets for when he reaches the majors. Second, the PCL and Las Vegas specifically is notoriously hitter friendly, so any learning experience Syndergaard gets out of pitching in Triple-A will likely be a bit tainted by skewed numbers and experiences.
Once the calendar flips to April 20th or so, the Mets will likely have secured an extra year of team control over Syndergaard. If they suffer multiple injuries in the rotation, calling him up after that point would be a consideration. However, it will be very surprising if Syndergaard were to be called up prior to the Super Two date, which will fall somewhere in the middle of June.