January 22, 2014

Syndergaard Could Reach The Majors In A Relief Role

ESPN's Adam Rubin spoke with Mets Vice President, Paul DePodesta, about the team's next pitching phenom, Noah Syndergaard.  Amongst the things they discussed was Syndergaards innings limit in 2014.  It is expected that Syndergaard won't make his major league debut until either late June or early July.  Unlike his predecessors, Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler, Syndergaard won't throw nearly as many innings in his first season at the major league level.

Rubin writes that unlike Harvey and Wheeler, who threw 135.2 and 149 innings respectively in their last full season in the minors, Syndergaard threw just 124.2 last year.  Pitchers generally aren't permitted to ramp up their work load by more than 30 innings from year to year, which would put Syndergaard about fifteen innings (or two starts) short of the other two.  Expect the Mets to be particularly mindful of this after they allowed Harvey to increase more than thirty innings after arriving at the major league level.  That placed Harvey on a list of pitchers at high risk for injury in 2013, before ultimately falling to Tommy John Surgery.

DePodesta told Rubin that the Mets may get creative in an effort to keep Syndergaard in the rotation into late September.  Although they will not delay his start to the season, the organization may be willing to break him into the majors in a relief role.  That is not something they have done in the past, but is something that's worked for other franchises, namely the St. Louis Cardinals, as Rubin points out.

One way or another, it appears only an injury can prevent Syndergaard from appearing in Queens this summer.  He will arrive to much fanfare as he'll look to live up to the standards set by those who've come before him.  While that's not necessarily a fair hand to be dealt, its the way things work in the big city.


I'm going to level with you.  I want the Mets to meticulously monitor Syndergaard's innings limit, however I want no part of him appearing out of the bullpen.  I don't care if its worked elsewhere, all I can envision is the stunted growth of Jenrry Mejia.  I can live with shortened exposure in 2014 in the hopes of a healthy career as a starter.  We've seen in the past six months that even a pitcher like Harvey, with as smooth and simple delivery as they come, can still fall to injury.  Let Syndergaard grow at his own pace, as a starter.  If that means he's done in the first week of September, so be it.

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