Below are the results of how two pitchers fared in Triple-A, and how another pitcher is faring so far in Triple-A.
- 110 innings pitched, 3.68 ERA, 3.66 FIP, 1.32 WHIP, 9.16 K/9 (lowest of minor league career), 3.96 BB/9 (highest of minor league career).
- 101.2 innings pitched, 3.60 ERA, 4.01 FIP, 1.23 WHIP, 9.01 K/9, 3.95 BB/9.
- 58.1 innings pitched, 4.71 ERA (highest of minor league career), 4.12 FIP, 1.53 WHIP (highest of minor league career), 9.26 K/9, 3.09 BB/9 (highest of minor league career).
The first pitcher is Matt Harvey, who pitched for Buffalo of the Eastern League in 2012 before being called up by the Mets.
The second pitcher is Zack Wheeler, who pitched in Buffalo of the Eastern League in 2012 and Las Vegas of the Pacific Coast League in 2013 before being called up by the Mets.
The third pitcher is Noah Syndergaard, currently pitching for Las Vegas of the Pacific Coast League.
While pitching for Las Vegas on Monady night in his return from the disabled list, Syndergaard allowed four runs on seven hits in four innings of work (he was on a 75-pitch limit).
Syndergaard has looked dominant at times this season, and very hittable other times.
As the numbers above indicate, the last two heralded pitching prospects for the Mets also struggled in Triple-A.
However, neither of them was forced to spend their entire Triple-A career in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League.
Matt Harvey spent his Triple-A stint with Buffalo, and still posted the lowest strikeout rate and highest walk rate of his minor league career.
Zack Wheeler split his Triple-A stint between Buffalo and Las Vegas, and it was in Las Vegas where his results worsened (he posted a 3.93 ERA there).
If the Mets are waiting for Syndergaard to accumulate 100 innings in Triple-A before promoting him, his debut in the majors likely won’t come until August – and that would be the opposite of what they should be doing.
The only reason Wheeler accumulated the amount of innings he did in Triple-A, was because the Mets were waiting for the Super 2 date to pass.
Where Harvey was concerned, it’s been reported that toward the end of his time in Buffalo, he was saving bullets for the majors since he had nothing left to prove in the minors.
As far as Syndergaard is concerned – and as his FIP suggests – he’s pitching in an environment that’s extremely detrimental to pitchers. Las Vegas’ home ballpark is hell-on-Earth for pitchers, and the rest of the ballparks in the PCL aren’t much better.
At Cashman Field, where Las Vegas plays its home games, the following contributes to the struggles of most pitchers:
- The air is dry, making it difficult to grip the baseball and control where it’s going.
- The air is thin, turning routine fly balls into extra base hits and leading to tons of cheap home runs.
- The infield is hard, turning many routine ground balls into base hits.
This is not to say that Cashman Field and the PCL is totally responsible for Syndergaard’s struggles, but it’s certainly been a major hindrance.
Once he gets a few more starts under his belt and distances himself from the two minor injuries he’s suffered over the last month, keeping Syndergaard with Triple-A Las Vegas will no longer make sense.
In what is turning out to be another likely non-contending year for the Mets, Syndergaard should be up and adjusting to the major leagues sooner rather than later.
Having him waste bullets in Triple-A, especially in a league where his stats can’t be properly evaluated, is pointless.