Noah Syndergaard’s big day finally arrived. After a strained groin placed New York Mets starter Dillon Gee on the 15-day DL, the 22-year-old rookie received the call every prospect dreams about. On Tuesday, Syndergaard faced off against Chicago Cubs righty Jake Arrieta in Wrigley Field.
After getting the news, Syndergaard told MLB.com’s Michael Radano, “My first call was to my mother. She said it was an awesome Mother’s Day present. We teared up a little bit and then I called my dad. I’ve been dying to do that ever since I picked up a baseball.”
Coming out the gate Syndergaard was good as advertised. He struck out his first major league batter and showed the 31,542 in attendance why he was on a Major League club. With a fastball that topped out at 99 mph and better than average curveball and changeup, the rookie right-hander left the Cubs scoreless through five innings. Syndergaard was tested for the first time in the third inning after Mets third baseman, Daniel Murphy, seemed to field a Kris Bryant groundball nonchalantly and failed to get the would-be third out. Syndergaard walked the next two batters before getting Jorge Soler to fly out to right field.
Syndergaard wound up with a line of three ER and six strikeouts over 5.1 innings. All three runs came in the 6th inning as a result of a single, a double and a home run. Although Syndergaard seemed to be picking at the corners of the strike zone at times his command was generally sharp. Syndergaard, who had a great K/BB ratio of 4.25 in Triple-A did give up an uncharacteristic four walks. As SportsNet New York pointed out, the cards were stacked against Syndergaard. Only four of 41 visiting pitchers have ever won their MLB debut at Wrigley Field. The Mets offense did not help either as they collected just five hits and did not score their only run until the eight inning.
Despite losing 6-1 to the Cubs in his debut, calling up Syndergaard was an easy decision for Mets management. The 6’ 5” prospect had been manhandling batters in Triple-A. In five starts with the Las Vegas 51s, Syndergaard posted a 3-0 record with 34 strikeouts and an impressive 1.82 ERA. As good as the early numbers were, they are even more remarkable when considering the Mansfield, Texas native was pitching in the pitchers nightmare that is the Pacific Coast League.
All signs point towards Mets fans seeing a lot more of Syndergaard in the future. The organization’s top prospect came into the season as one of the league’s future stars. MLB.com and Baseball America both have him at #11 while Baseball Prospectus has him tagged at #9. With the flurry of recent call-ups like Addison Russell, Kris Bryant and Syndergaard we are reminded that it’s a great time to be a fan.