Don’t look now, but Noah Syndergaard looks like he’s learned how to pitch. The 22-year-old pitching prospect for the New York Mets has pitched very well in his last three-consecutive starts, and four out of his last five.
He’s only allowed one earned run over his most recent three starts. He’s walked five and struck out 20 over 17.1 innings. The walks are a little high, but he was walk-free in his most recent start, which came last night against the El Paso Chihuahuas. He’s given up too many hits — 17 in as many innings — but he’s been able to work around them. And keeping in mind the difficulty pitchers have in the Pacific Coast League, where there are hitter-friendly ballparks abound, those numbers are most impressive.
In his first start after the All-Star break, he was touched up for seven runs. The start before, he pitched brilliantly, allowing one earned run in seven innings, walking none and striking out eight. Maybe he had a letdown after his experience at the All-Star future’s game, or maybe he simply had an off night. But it looks like Noah is righting the ship.
Syndergaard acknowledged that he was relying too much on his 98-mph heater, and not enough on his offspeed stuff. He has a plus curveball, and he needed to use it more. By his admission, he was more of a thrower, instead of a pitcher, earlier this season. It seems as if he’s pitching now, and if he keeps doing what he’s doing, he’ll find himself in Queens in August or September.
The Mets’ rotation is pretty solid right now, but Jacob deGrom is closing in on an innings limit, and Dillon Gee and Jon Niese are working through some struggles after they returned from injury. If Syndergaard keeps pitching like he has recently, the Mets will find a spot for him.