Noah Syndergaard Taking His Lumps In The Pacific Coast League


The Mets will gain their coveted extra year of control over Noah Syndergaard this month, and will no doubt allow the Super-Two arbitration deadline to pass later this summer.  Only then, will we potentially see Noah Syndergaard pitch in Flushing.

During his very brief cup of coffee with the Mets in Spring Training, Noah Syndergaard made three appearances (two starts).  In 8.2 innings, he surrendered 5 earned runs on 5 hits, issued 5 walks, and struck out 10 batters.

Mar 3, 2014; Lake Buena Vista, FL, USA; New Yorks Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard (55) warms up before the spring training exhibition game against the Atlanta Bravesat Champion Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

The Mets plan to cap his innings at 155 or so this season, which averages out to 6 innings per game over 25 starts.  If you’re marking time, he might arrive in Queens after another 14 starts or so, and roughly 100 innings into his 2014 season.

Prior to Saturday night’s outing against the El Paso Chihuahuas, Syndergaard made three previous starts, and had a 3.94 ERA in 16 innings pitched.  He allowed 7 earned runs on 17 hits, issued 5 walks, and had 12 strikeouts.

Playing in Cashman Field, the Chihuahuas jumped on Syndergaard early.  He walked the first batter he faced.  After a base hit, two stolen bases, an error by second baseman Daniel Muno, another walk, and a wild pitch, the Chihuahuas were ahead by a 3-0 margin – only one run was earned.

Syndergaard additionally allowed the lead off batter to get on base in each of his first three innings pitched.

In the third inning, the Chihuahuas struck for three more runs off Syndergaard, on a single, a walk, and a three run home run, to make it a 6-1 game at the time.  The hits then kept coming.  The next two batters doubled, and singled respectively, before he finally got out of the frame.

Through three full innings, Syndergaard threw 68 pitches, with only 38 (59%) going for strikes.  He surrendered 4 earned runs on 6 hits, walked 3, and only fanned one batter, as his ERA ballooned to 5.21.

Syndergaard stayed on to pitch the fourth inning, and finally retired the first batter of the frame. He then fanned the next two to retire the side in order.  By then, the damage was already done and his night was through.

Four starts is far too small a sample to draw any definitive conclusions from.  Nonetheless, pitching for Las Vegas in the Pacific Coast League is presenting Syndergaard with his toughest professional challenge yet.  His numbers have been impacted across the board. Remembering this his first taste of Triple-A, Syndergaard’s ERA, H/9 and BB/9 averages are all presently up at career high levels, and his K/9 average is similarly at a career low.

In 2013, Rafael Montero endured a similar effect.  His 3.05 ERA in 88.2 innings for Las Vegas represented his highest ERA of his minor league career.  In 66.2 innings for Binghamton, he had a 6.9 H/9, and a 9.7 K/9 average.  Then for Las Vegas, he dipped to a 7.9 K/9 average, while inflating to an 8.6 H/9 average.

This season, Rafael Montero has made four starts in Triple-A.  In 21.1 innings, his ERA is up at 3.80. So far, his 7.6 H/9 is down from last year, and his 10.1 K/9 is presently at a career high.

Jacob deGrom does not seem too bothered by the various Pacific Coast League conditions.  In three starts so far this season spanning 18 innings pitched, he has only surrendered one run on 10 hits, issued 4 walks, and struck out 15 batters.

DeGrom’s performance just goes to show that all that goes wrong while pitching for Las Vegas can not simply be attributed to and dismissed as Pacific Coast League phenomena.  In any event, I would suggest Noah Syndergaard make better pitches, adapt, and overcome.

For the record, I am not in favor of calling up Noah Syndergaard to Flushing this season, unless the Mets are in realistic contention for a postseason berth.  Otherwise, I would prefer he pitch his allotted 155 or so inning for Las Vegas.

Rafael Montero paid his dues in Las Vegas last season, and I believe he deserves to get first consideration as part of any meaningful call-up.

In matters of organizational control, the extra year of control has been assured.  However, Super-Two status is still likely if the Mets call Montero and/or Syndergaard up before the middle of June.  Haste makes waste, so don’t be in such a hurry folks.  All things in due time.

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