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45 Prospects in 45 Days: New York’s Noah Syndergaard

noah syndergaard
Photo Credit: NJ Baseball

Profile

Over the last few seasons, New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson and company have been busy acquiring assets and building a farm system. Noah Syndergaard is a shining example, as he was one of the key prospects obtained in the RA Dickey trade before the 2013 season.

The big right-hander possesses a mid-90s fastball with a changeup and curveball that are both considered average or better offerings.  Syndergaard has shown strikeout stuff throughout his four years in the minors, but what may be even more impressive are his consistently solid walk rates.  His ability to gets whiffs and have above-average control has allowed him to reach Double-A at age 20.  The increase in competition didn’t slow down Syndergaard too much, as he continued to collect K’s and limit the base on balls.

Here is Syndergaard doing what he does.

And here he is saying all the right things. Shortly after this interview, Syndergaard made his first Spring Training start and didn’t have too much trouble versus the Atlanta Braves. He struck out Jason Heyward and Evan Gattis in his two inning stint, giving up one hit.

Syndergaard, now 21, is unlikely to make the big league club out of Spring Training. But if he continues to take the proper steps forward, he could be pitching for the Mets as early as July.

Pundits

Since being traded to the Mets, Syndergaard has seen his stock on the rise. He appears to be the top prospect for the Mets everywhere you look. Here are how some of the top-100 lists rank him entering 2014:

Baseball America: 16
Keith Law: 24
MLB.com: 11
Marc Hulet: 18
Baseball Prospectus: 11

Fangraphs prospect writer, Marc Hulet, discusses Syndergaard:

“The right-hander pairs his heater with an above-average changeup that flashes plus potential and his breaking ball has improved enough to place a future average grade on it. Standing 6’6”, the Texas native needs to do a better job of leveraging his height to his advantage and pounding the lower half of the strike zone.

The lack of a consistent breaking ball is holding back Syndergaard from being projected as a future No. 1 starter. Nonetheless, in his prime he could be a dominating No. 2 starter capable of providing a plethora of innings.”

Minor League Production

Season Team G GS IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 BABIP LOB% ERA FIP
2012 Blue Jays (A) 27 19 103.2 10.59 2.69 0.26 .295 66.5 % 2.60 2.21
2013 Mets (A+) 12 12 63.2 9.05 2.26 0.42 .333 71.8 % 3.11 2.60
2013 Mets (AA) 11 11 54.0 11.50 2.00 1.33 .304 74.8 % 3.00 3.24

The last couple of seasons have been more of the same from Syndergaard. The only noticeable jump is in his HR/9. We can’t really determine what this means with such a small sample size, so unless he starts allowing more bombs this season, it should be safe to ignore. As for the obvious, Syndergaard has the ability to get K’s and not allow too many free passes.

Projections

System G GS IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 LOB% WHIP BABIP ERA FIP
Steamer 3 3 19 8.75 3.39 .86 71.7% 1.26 .288 3.75 3.56
ZiPS 27 24 117 8.77 3.00 .92 74.5% 1.26 .308 3.62 3.61
Oliver 20 18 95 7.99 3.04 1.05 72.7% 1.31 .297 4.00 3.86

If and when Syndergaard gets the call, the projections believe he will be not only a useful starter for the Mets, but also for your fantasy team. If he could achieve the ZiPS projections, that would be one heck of an achievement.

Prediction

Syndergaard has a lot going for him. A big strong frame that is loaded with a plus fastball, above-average control, an above-average changeup that flashes plus potential, and a curveball that is developing into at least an average pitch with growth for more.

If healthy, Noah Syndergaard will be making his debut for the Mets in 2014. Whether he debuts before the All-Star break or as a September call-up is the question. But when he does show up, he should be an immediate add for fantasy goers. An ERA hovering around 4.00 or lower with a WHIP in the vicinity of 1.25 wouldn’t be the least bit surprising. Sprinkle in his strikeout upside, and you have a solid fantasy contributor. As Jose Fernandez proved last season, minor leaguers who show strong control and strikeout stuff should not be ignored, no matter how young.

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2 Comments

  1. Joseph
    March 5, 2014 at 4:17 am —

    I would have expected the projections to be more favorable to his BB/9 considering you mentioned a couple of times his above average control. Thoughts there?

    • March 5, 2014 at 10:20 am —

      A higher level of competition. Less hitters swinging at pitches out of the zone. I think those marks are about right for his first taste in the bigs. Something in the low 3’s.

      Jose Fernandez had like a 2.35-2.40 BB/9 in the minors during 2012, but not against Double-A. His BB/9 was 3.02 last season and he had a 9.75 h/9. His walks dropped to like 2.38 BB/9 in the second half.

      In saying that, it is unfair to expect Syndergaard to be like Jose Fernandez, as the Marlins’ ace appears to be really special. If he wasn’t on that team, more people would view Fernandez as the number 3 starter off the board like I do for fantasy baseball this season. I would say Syndergaard is not on Fernandez’s level, but I think he can still post pretty impressive numbers as a rookie if he got more seasoning in the minors to start the season.

      As for his BB/9, Steamer may be on the high end (in limited innings however).

      Personally, I think Syndergaard can produce something like: a little over 8 k/9, a 3.10 BB/9, and something around a 3.75ish ERA and a 1.27ish WHIP after couple of more months in the minors. Assuming he continues to progress. That is plenty useful in most leagues.

      It isn’t easy to project, but his minor league numbers are impressive and his secondary stuff seems to be coming along more and more. Not to mention his mid-90s fastball. When I bid and won Fernandez last season, I expected a line similar to the one I posted above for Syndergaard. He obviously far exceeded my expectations. Perhaps Syndergaard can follow suit.

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