2019 Goal #5: NL Cy Young Award
At the beginning of Spring Training last season Jacob deGrom was asked by a reporter if he had any specific personal goals for the 2018 season. ”To win the Cy Young”, he responded matter-of-factly. Having already explained that, ”everyone wants to be the best they can be, and that’s (the Cy Young Award) the highest award a pitcher can receive, so, you know, you set your goals high and you go for it.”
Move over Joe Namath? Not really, but the goal was set openly and publicly and then ultimately attained. As we all know now, deGrom won the National League Cy Young Award with a historic 2018 and is now considered by many to be the best pitcher in the game today.
So, are we saying that it’s now Syndergaard’s turn to step his mound game up another notch, win the National League Cy Young Award, and state his own case for being the best pitcher in the game?
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Goals are simply targets that we shoot for. Will Noah’s 2019 be a failure if he finishes third in the Cy Young voting and no one thinks he’s better than, say, Max Scherzer? Not at all.
Again, it’s about a mentality. This time its an attitude of excellence that you take into every start, every pitch, every time a runner gets on base. A will to strive in the most adverse positions. A firm belief that, between the hard work you’ve put into perfecting your craft and the repertoire that you have at your disposal, you hold the upper hand in all match-ups.
I think that Syndergaard already has this belief in himself to a large degree (when there are no runners on base, at least) but, again, hasn’t been able to build from start to start for long enough stretches to gain sufficient in-season momentum and really get on a roll of true excellence like deGrom did last season. Up to this point Noah has had runs of ’overpowering’ at best; but I, like Doc, do feel that there is yet another level within the mighty Thor’s reach.
He has Dave Eiland and Mickey Callaway available to assist throughout the season, and now Wilson Ramos and his experience will also be part of the game-planning mix. All are assets for Syndergaard to draw upon not only to keep him on track but to help him blossom into what he can become.
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And if he can check the first four goals off the list from above then the sky is the limit, including the fifth goal – the 2019 National League Cy Young Award (and beyond), for Noah Syndergaard.