Could Noah Syndergaard‘s injury have been prevented?
We’ve argued about the Mets ace’s outcome endlessly both on social media and in in-person debates, but a new piece from NorthJersey.com’s Bob Klapisch may have swayed me from one side of the argument to the other.
For his column (which you should definitely check out here) Klapisch talks to Tom House, a former pitcher and now motion analysis expert who runs the National Pitching Association in Southern California, about Noah Syndergaard’s wear and tear this season and the fact that he pretty much predicted something like this would happen.
House notes that the fact that Syndergaard added muscle weight in the offseason without throwing would cause an eventual breakdown, but took “no pleasure in knowing [he] was right” when the Mets fireballing righty went down.
He debated calling the Mets for weeks about what he believed would happen to Thor but ultimately decided against it.
"“It was none of my business. I’ve tried that in the past and I’ve always ended up shooting myself in the foot,” House told Klapisch. “I stayed up half the night wondering if I should’ve said something. Dan [Warthen] is my friend. If the Mets had reached out to me, I would’ve given them all the information I had. But they didn’t.”"
House doesn’t second-guess the Mets as an organization, but he did point out some things to Klapisch that make a lot of sense. The main one being that the lat injury and the bicep and shoulder soreness Syndergaard experienced earlier in the week were definitely related.
According to House, the front of the shoulder (the bicep tendon) was sore, so the back of the shoulder (the lat muscle) had to compensate for it and actually tightened up. In order to protect the bicep, House believes the lat worked as an “emergency brake” that would eventually tear from Syndergaard’s hard motion to the plate.
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As Klapisch accurately notes, while House may not have doubts about the Mets medical staff, the fanbase is a completely different story. The sheer level of incompetence to not realize that both the lat and the bicep are related and function in unison is astonishing if House is to be believed.
I’ll be the first to admit that I had been supporting Syndergaard and the Mets’ training staff through all this, and while I didn’t love his decision to reject the team’s MRI request, it seemed like the two issues were unrelated. Apparently that was wrong.
But this was apparently a chain of events that the Mets trainers should have seen coming, and a risk that should have been explained to Sandy Alderson who eventually made the call to let Thor start that fateful Sunday.
These types of mistakes are fireable offenses. Injuries happen, and unfortunately, sometimes there’s nothing you can do about them, but when lack of medical wisdom impacts arguably the biggest star on your team for a good chunk of time, someone needs to pay the ultimate price.
Of course, it should be noted that Mets team doctors don’t necessarily agree with this assessment, so when it really comes down to it, we may never actually know if the two issues were indeed connected.
Thankfully, as House noted, Syndergaard didn’t tear any ligaments which would have required surgery and sure end to his season. “He’ll never be injured like this again,” House said. Let’s hope not, Tom.