The New York Mets will be depending on the arms of Noah Syndergaard and Matt Harvey to come up big if they are going to challenge their ever-improving competition.
The New York Mets are fortunate to have two starting pitchers with something to prove in the 2018 season.
For instance, I can’t think of a pitcher who has more on the line this season than Matt Harvey as he reaches his free agency in 2019. Noah Syndergaard is similarly challenged, though he is more a question of pride after he self-imploded last season due to ill-advised medical decisions and an off-season training program that backfired.
Of the two, Harvey remains the most enigmatic. When all is said and done, he is a sub-.500 pitcher in the big leagues after five seasons (34-35). He will turn 29 in March and should be in the middle stage of his prime years as a major league pitcher. Most importantly, his agent Scott Boras should, at this point, be lining up teams ready to sign Harvey with the bidding starting at $100 million.
That’s the way it was supposed to be. Baseball insiders still talk about Harvey’s “upside,” which in baseball language is more politically correct than potential. But at some point, upside evaporates and turns into just another pedestrian ballplayer who’s skilled enough to play for ten or twelve years, but never reaching the levels predicted for him.
Matt Marvey is at that crossroad this season. He’s out of options so to speak. And further injuries don’t count. He has to go out there and prove that he can pitch over a full season. There are no mulligans left for Darth Vader.
In his three seasons with the Mets, Syndergaard has compiled a decent enough record at 24-18 with a sparkling 2.89 ERA. But again, time is up on that God-awful word, potential. Anyone with a bat in his hands will attest to Syndergaard having some of the nastiest stuff of any pitcher in the majors today.
Harold Reynolds and Mark DeRosa from MLB Network give it a mighty try in this video:
Marc Craig, writing for Newsday, reports that Syndergaard has an entirely different approach to conditioning this offseason and one the Mets are pleased about. Thor has it all except for the numbers that prove all he is as a pitcher. Only 25, the big Texan has not reached the dire stage Harvey is in. But the Mets are hoping Syndergaard can see the writing on the wall and what can happen when opportunity and talent are wasted.
A reasonable expectation for the Mets is to finish at or just above the .500 mark in 2018. For that to happen, they need 45 wins from their Big Three, including Jacob DeGrom. DeGrom had a near Cy Young year last season and figures to repeat the same this season. So, it is left to Harvey and Syndergaard to deliver the other 30 wins.
Steven Matz remains the wild card in the rotation, and if he can chip in twelve wins, that leaves only 24 more that needs to come from the rest of the staff, including the bullpen, just to reach 81 wins and a .500 season. Anything beyond that obviously is welcome.
The Mets don’t seem to be in line to make any significant moves as far as adding personnel before Opening Day. And hopefully, the rumors about washed up Mike Napoli and Jose Bautista are unfounded in that regard.
The Mets do have the ability to pitch, though, and it’s high time for the Big Three and especially Harvey and Syndergaard to get back on the saddle, leading the team to as far as they can take them.