2021 New York Mets: Syndergaard On the Mend

The success of the 2021 New York Mets will hinge on the pitching staff.
The success of the 2021 New York Mets will hinge on the pitching staff.

The 2021 New York Mets starting rotation is starting to take shape. Ace two-time Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom will lead the way once again in Queens.

Behind him, New York features Marcus Stroman, who is returning to his home-town club after accepting the qualifying offer, as well as recently acquired veteran right-hander Carlos Carrasco, and lefties David Peterson and Steven Matz.

With the addition of Carrasco, this is certainly a solid group, however, newly hired General Manager Jared Porter told reporters, including Mark Feinsand of MLB.com, this afternoon that he is still on the hunt for more pitching depth.

While Porter will certainly look outside the organization for some additions to the pitching staff, there may be one big option in-house joining the squad not too long into the season.

Right-hander Noah Syndergaard has been grinding away at his rehab all offseason and seems to be extremely motivated to get back to the club sooner rather than later.

2021 New York Mets: Syndergaard On the Mend

Syndergaard missed the entire 2019-20 pandemic shortened season after undergoing Tommy John surgery on his pitching elbow last March. The 28-year old has been rehabbing down at the team’s Spring Training facility in Port St. Lucie since early in the offseason and has been progressively ramping up baseball activity.

In early November, a video surfaced of Syndergaard throwing off a mound for the first time via his own Twitter page.

Since then, Mets brass has had nothing but positive things to say about Syndergaard and his progress in his road back to the bump.

During an appearance in early December on SNY’s Mets Hot Stove, second-year pitching coach Jeremy Hefner said Syndergaard is doing good and “right on track where he should be.”

And just a few days later during an interview with WFAN, Team President Sandy Alderson set June as a “reasonable expectation” for the right-hander to return for the 2021 New York Mets.

“That’s kind of what I’ve seen in our medical reports and our updates. Right now, I’d stick with that just because that’s what’s medically indicated, and we’ll see how it goes,” Alderson said.

The last time we saw Syndergaard on the mound, he struggled a bit, posting a 4.28 ERA with 202 strikeouts and a 1.23 WHIP over 197 innings in 2019. When he is on his game, however, ‘Thor’ is right up there with some of the top starters in baseball.

Over his five-year big-league career, Syndergaard has posted a 1.16 WHIP, 2.92 FIP, 3.31 ERA, and averages just a shade under 10 strikeouts per nine innings.

What Syndergaard Brings to Mets

Aside from Jacob deGrom, the Mets rotation was a major letdown without Syndergaard during the 2019 season. As pointed out by Tim Britton of The Athletic, the team received fewer than 10 outs from their starting pitching in a quarter of their games during the 60 game season. The staff also put together a combined 86 ERA+, which was ranked last in the National League. One would say that’s not a recipe for success.

A quick return from the righty would make a solid unit even stronger for the 2021 New York Mets pitching staff. As currently drawn up, a top four in the rotation of deGrom, Carrasco, Syndergaard, and Stroman is up there with the best in baseball. Syndergaard would bring some stability and depth to the Mets rotation.

As a result swingman Seth Lugo, arguably one of the Mets’ best relievers, would be guaranteed a return to the bullpen. A backend of the pen of Lugo, Edwin Diaz, and Trevor May is very strong.

Jared Porter will likely add at least one depth starter before the end of the offseason. As pointed out by Bruce Beck of WNBC, Porter told reporters during his introductory Zoom press conference, lengthening the rotation “is a key.” While the likes of Trevor Bauer or Jake Odorizzi seem a little unlikely, there are a handful of interesting cheaper options out there. Say a Corey Kluber or James Paxton, both of whom the Mets have scouted according to Anthony Dicomo of MLB.com, would certainly make a ton of sense here.

No matter where Porter and the Mets decide to go, they are certain to “acquire” one big rotation piece midseason. Let’s not forget that when healthy and in his groove, Syndergaard has the ability to be up there with the best arms in the game. With all signs pointing towards a positive recovery, Mets fans could, and very much should be looking forward to a massive comeback from their big right-hander for the 2021 New York Mets.

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