Losing Noah Syndergaard for the 2020 season is a big loss for the New York Mets, but it doesn’t spoil their chances at contention.
The New York Mets were dealt another blow last week with the news that one of their top starting pitchers, Noah Syndergaard, will miss all of 2020 and possibly some of the 2021 season following Tommy John Surgery.
Syndergaard has already had a rocky past two seasons mired with sub-par quality starts and a lack of pitch control around the strike zone. Last year, despite setting a career-high in innings pitched, the fireballer right-hander had his career-worst ERA and gave up by far the most runs and walks he has ever given up in a season in his career.
The Mets, who were expected to contend in 2020 on the backs of their strong pitching rotation, have been hit hard by this unfortunate turn of events. To make matters worse, promising right-hander Zack Wheeler bolted for more money and better playoff aspirations when he signed with the Philadelphia Phillies a few months back.
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Syndergaard was expected to come into 2020, his sixth full season in the majors, and finally be able to put it all together.
After only making seven starts in a lost 2017 campaign and durability issues always plaguing him since many believed this upcoming season was going to be the make or break year for the 27-year-old.
Showing flashes of incredible pitching talent throughout his career, consistency, focus, and durability were the three main traits the Mets were hoping to see Thor master in this year.
The one potential bright spot in all of this is that the 2020 season will probably be much shorter than the regular 162-game schedule. If this is the case, the Mets wouldn’t have to rely so hard on their starters to get to 180 to 200 innings as they normally would. Guys like Steven Matz, Michael Wacha or Rick Porcello can come in and have effective stretches that could see the Mets put together some quality starts without having to tax their other starters.
Ironically, in a shortened season like this with a major starter going down, the Mets most valuable pitchers might end up being Seth Lugo and Dellin Betances. Both will likely have to come in and pitch multiple shut down innings late in games quite frequently, as there figures to be less off days in a shortened and condensed 2020 season.
With starters also using the first few weeks just to build up some stamina and not going more than 5+ innings a start, these two should definitely be the ones shouldering the load late in games early on.
If recovery goes as well as it is planned for Syndergaard post-surgery, we could see Noah back in a Mets uniform fully healed by mid-July of the 2021 season. That should be more than enough time to figure out his control and pitch selection problems.
Plus he will be fully rested and ready to help the Mets hopefully surge to a playoff berth. The only issue is, by then, if he does straighten everything out and put it all together, he will be a couple months shy of being a free agent.
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And then the Mets front office and ownership will really have some big decisions to make and their work really cut out for them.