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Why Syndergaard can be top-of-rotation guy

Huge upside as righty combines size, power and wide repertoire



Noah Syndergaard was a supplemental first-round selection out of high school by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 2010 First Year Player Draft. A right-handed pitcher, Syndergaard has the type of upside that can either lead or complement the top of the Mets rotation for years to come.

Joining the Mets organization following a blockbuster 2012 trade with the Blue Jays, Syndergaard has made the most of his huge 6-foot-6, 240-pound frame.


Syndergaard's fastball velocity ranges from the mid- to high-90s. His velocity has increased over the years, with his four-seam fastball touching 96-98 mph with regularity. He also throws a sinking two-seam fastball with similar velocity. He has worked hard to develop a biting curveball that pairs very well with either of his fastballs. He works in a changeup that offers a different pitch and changes the eye level while at the same time altering the balance of the hitter. Each of his pitches can induce swings and misses and ultimately, strikeouts.


Keeping the hitter guessing with regard to the next pitch to come his way, it is not unusual for Syndergaard to repeat the same pitch over and over in a sequence. He is very confident he can throw strikes with each pitch in his arsenal.


As Syndergaard has matured and gained experience, I have seen much smoother and easier arm action with good speed and finish. At times in the past, Syndergaard had some effort in his delivery and he would cut his arm action short. That lack of extension allowed the pitch to drift, often sailing too far up in the zone. Now he repeats his delivery and takes advantage of his huge size to pitch downhill. He is an imposing figure on the mound, with long arms and legs coming directly at the hitter. His command and control are of Major League quality and will only improve with repetition and experience against big league hitters.


Syndergaard is a true power pitcher, using his size, strength and athletic ability to its fullest advantage. He may have lost a bit of confidence in 2014 pitching at Triple-A Las Vegas, a hitter's park in a hitter's league. But he learned from that experience and improved greatly when he returned to that same Pacific Coast League environment to begin this year. The results were much more favorable and his efforts were cleaner, crisper and more in line with his status as a top pitching prospect. He is No. 1 on the Mets Top 30 Prospects list and No. 11 in the Top 100.

His above-average arm speed and his deceptive mix of fastballs and a very effective curveball give him enough weapons to navigate even the toughest lineups. It is the improvement in the control and command of his curveball that I believe has given him the confidence and momentum to ultimately dominate.


Like most pitchers, Syndergaard is best when he keeps the ball down in the zone. With his size, however, that is not as easy as it may seem. When he elevates his pitches, regardless of the speed, he can be hit. He also has to keep mixing his pitches well in his sequencing and gain more confidence in his changeup. That can be an important pitch as the game progresses and he is facing the lineup for a third and fourth time.


Syndergaard had a tremendous growth spurt at Mansfield (Texas) Legacy High School. As a junior, he grew three to four inches, taking him to 6-foot-4.


While he may have to defer the classification as "ace" of the staff to one of his colleagues, Syndergaard will become a key member of the Mets rotation of power pitchers that includes Syndergaard, Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom. He joins them in forming the nucleus of a young and dynamic trio that could learn, grow and prosper together for years to come. Few clubs can match the dynamic starting pitching that can help the club keep away from an extended losing streak. Each has the potential to take over a game from the first inning on and give his team a chance to win the game. And that's what starting pitching is all about.



Bernie Pleskoff has served as a professional scout for the Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners. Follow @BerniePleskoff on Twitter.
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