Throughout the minor league season, I will be writing about a prospect every Monday who has reached the AA level or higher that could be on your fantasy roster by season's end, and what you should know about them. With Zack Wheeler reaching the Majors (and it appears to stay), two of the Mets' future Big 3 have reached Flushing. Noah Syndergaard was recently promoted from High-A to AA. Could we see him by this time next year, and what could he do for fantasy owners when he arrives?
Weight: 240 lbs.
On 40-Man Roster: No
Age as of 7/1/13: 20 (Turns 21 August 29)
Syndergaard was drafted by the Blue Jays out of a Texas high school in the supplemental first round of the 2010 draft, and signed with the team for a bonus of $600K, which was below-slot. The team sent him to their Gulf Coast League affiliate for the rest of the 2010 season, where he threw just 13 innings across 5 starts to end his season.
The team held him back at their spring training complex until the Appalachian League started its' season in mid June, and he struck out 37 and walked 11 over 32 innings pitched before a promotion to the Northwest League (short-season A). 18 more innings with 22 strikeouts and 4 walks there for Syndergaard before being sent to his first full season assignment in the Midwest League. After 9 innings pitched there before the end of the year, Syndergaard finished his first full season as a professional with 68 strikeouts against 18 walks in 59 innings pitched, and a very solid 1.30 GO/AO ratio across all stops.
The Blue Jays returned Syndergaard to Low-A Lansing for the 2012 season, and included him in their piggybacking system where he would start one game, and in his next turn would come on in relief for the 6th inning and pitch until the end of the game. He ended up starting 19 of his 25 appearances, striking out 122, walking 31, and posting an excellent 2.16 GO/AO ratio across 103.2 innings pitched.
Syndergaard ended up being one of two key prospects in the trade that brought R.A. Dickey to Toronto this past offseason, and so the Mets moved Noah up to High-A to start his 2013 season. He has kept up his strikeout per inning ways, mowing down 64 batters in 63 innings there before being promoted to AA on June 23rd. So far, in two starts, he has 16 strikeouts and 3 walks in his 11 innings for Binghamton.
The Scouting Report - Scouting reports are gathered from other internet sources and written reports, unless otherwise noted.
Syndergaard features a fastball which sits in the mid-90s, with reports that the pitch can touch 96-97 at times. It is considered to a very heavy pitch, generating a ton of sink from the downward plane he is able to achieve with his height. He also features a curveball which has been graded out as a potential plus pitch down the line, although reports from the start of the season noted that it still needs work on its' consistency. Syndergaard also throws a changeup, although that pitch also sounds like it needs some work to become an average offering in the Majors, and its' success could determine how close Syndergaard gets to his potential ceiling as a #2 starter (#2-#3 for fantasy owners).
What's Keeping Him From Contributing Now?
Syndergaard JUST arrived in AA in the past few weeks, and will need to pitch more at that level before a promotion to AAA, let alone the Majors, could be in the cards. There is unfortunately no game video of Syndergaard on MILB.tv so far this year, so it's hard to tell with my own eyes whether he has made steps forward with his offspeed pitches yet. He isn't on the 40-man roster, although it seems very unlikely that when the time comes for him to be ready, the team isn't likely to hesitate.
When Could He Arrive?
He seems to me like he could get a cup of coffee at the end of 2014 if he continues to improve while at AA this year. If the team decides to send Syndergaard to AAA to start his 2014 campaign, that timeline could move up considerably. Realistically, he seems most likely to establish himself in the 2015 season.
What Could He Do For Fantasy Owners Once He Gets There?
Sign me up for a pitcher who could potentially strike out nearly a batter per inning while also providing a high strikeout rate in the NL East. He should provide excellent ratios to go with those strikeouts as well. Syndergaard would probably be a #2 starter in most rotations, but could slot in very nicely as the Mets' #3 behind Harvey and Wheeler very soon.