Noah Syndergaard

Revised NLDS Roster Projection

I’m not calling this 2.0. To me that would indicate that I will make a number of changes, but I wanted to show you my work product. There’s nothing wrong with that, but that’s not my intention when I share my projections

However, there has been another major development with Steven Matz‘s back. As I said yesterday, I was not going to trust he was going to pitch until he actually pitches

Catchers

1. Travis d’Arnaud

2. Kevin Plawecki

Infielders

3. Lucas Duda

4. Daniel Murphy

5. Kelly Johnson

6. David Wright

7. Ruben Tejada

8. Wilmer Flores

Outfielders

9. Michael Conforto

10. Michael Cuddyer

11. Yoenis Cespedes

12. Juan Lagares

13. Curtis Granderson

Pinch Runner

14. Eric Young, Jr.

Starting Pitchers

15. Jacob deGrom

16. Noah Syndergaard

17. Matt Harvey

18. Bartolo Colon

Relief Pitchers

19. Jeurys Familia

20. Addison Reed

21. Tyler Clippard

22. Hansel Robles

23. Jon Niese

24. Sean Gilmartin

25. Erik Goeddel

As you can see, the only change I made between the projections was exchanging Matz for Goeddel. I chose Goeddel because he’s been pretty good lately, and he can generate strikeouts with his splitter. 

I still think there are two other players under consideration: Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Dilson Herrera. Kirk has been good lately, has some power, can run, and can play all three OF positions. However, since he’s a left handed bat going into a series with a lot of LHP, I don’t think the Mets will put him on the roster. 

I think Dilson is getting consideration because he’s a right handed bat and definitively the team’s best defensive second baseman.  With Flores’ back injury, Herrera is a definite possibility. What hurts him most is he only plays 2B. As I said in another post, the presence of Murphy and Johnson could alleviate those concerns. 

However, for right now, I think the Mets give EY the edge, especially because he’s a Terry Collins favorite. If anything else happens, I’ll put out another revised projection. 

What Type of October Will it Be?

In 2013, Michael Wacha burst on the scene in the playoffs, and it was declared “Wachtober.”  If the Mets go far in the postseason, here are some suggestions for the new Wachtober:

Matt Harvey – Mattober or Dark Knightober

Jacob deGrom -Jaketober

Noah Syndergaard – Thortober

Steven Matz – Matztober

Bartolo Colon – Bartober

Curtis Granderson – Curtober

Daniel Murphy – Murphtober

David Wright – Wrightober

Michael Conforto – Confortober

Yoenis Cespedes – Yotober
Of course, this is dependent on the Mets making a deep run and one, or more of these guys being a major contributor. I hope I get to use these. 

If you have a suggestion (even to an existing one), please pass it along. If I like it, I will update the list and credit your Twitter handle. 

Postseason Pitching Experience

If rumors are correct, the Mets will go with the four man rotation of Jacob deGromNoah SyndergaardMatt Harvey, and Steven Matz. I put them purposefully in that order because that’s how the Nets intend to line them up in the playoffs. 

These four pitchers have had zero postseason appearances. In fact, as a group, they have less than five years of experience. This just highlights the total lack of postseason experience for the entire Mets staff. Overall, there are only three pitchers on the Mets who have any playoff experience:

  1. Bartolo Colon (10 starts) 2-4, 3.70 ERA, 58.1 IP, 1.389 WHIP
  2. Tyler Clippard (3 appearances) 0-0, 1.50 ERA, 6 IP, 0 SV, 0.667 WHIP
  3. Eric O’Flaherty (1 appearance) 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 IP, 0 SV, 2.00 WHIP

Unless his back prevents him, Clippard will be on the postseason roster. I believe the Mets will find a spot for Colon even if he isn’t starting. There’s no shot that O’Flaherty makes the team. 

I’m not concerned at all. This was the case with the 1991 Braves rotation,nand they went to the World Series. The same goes for the 2003 Marlins.  The 2008 Giants had a young core of starting pitchers they relied upon to win their first World Series in San Francisco.  K-Rod burst on the scene on the 2002 Angels World Series Championship team. There’s another, better example for Mets fans. 1986. 

In 1986, the Mets had Dwight Gooden (3 major league seasons), Ron Darling (4 major league seasons), Bobby Ojeda (7 major league season), and Sid Fernandez (4 major league seasons) make starts. Combined they had more than triple the major league experience of this current group of pitchers. However, they were still young and had zero postseason experience. The lack of postseason experience didn’t hold them back. The reason was their talent. 

That’s right. For all the talk about what wins in the playoffs, we always forget the talent gap. This Mets rotation is the most talented in the NL, most likely all of baseball. If I have to choose between experience and talent, I pick talent every time. 

It looks like the Mets are as well. Then again what choice do they have?

Thank You Omar

Look, this is Sandy Alderson’s team. He decided to keep the players he kept and trade the players he traded. He pulled off the trades and signed the free agents. However, he was able to do a lot of what he did because he was left with good players after Omar Minaya was terminated. 

Here are the players in the 40 man roster who have a link to Omar Minaya (asterisked players are players obtained with players combined by Minaya and Alderson):

Jerry Blevins – obtained for 2010 draft pick Matt den Dekker

Eric Campbell – 2008 draft pick. 

Darrell Ceciliani – 2009 draft pick. 

Travis d’Arnaud – part of the R.A. Dickey trade. Dickey was a free agent signing. Josh Thole was a 2005 draft pick. Mike Nickeas was initially obtained by trade in 2006.

Jacob deGrom – 2010 draft pick. 

Lucas Duda – 2007 draft pick. 

Jeurys Familia – 2007 amateur free agent signing. 

Wilmer Flores – 2007 amateur free agent signing. 

Erik Goeddel – 2010 draft pick. 

Matt Harvey – 2010 draft pick  

Dilson Herrera* – part of Marlon Byrd/John Buck trade. Buck was part of the Dickey trade (see d’Arnaud). 

Juan Lagares – 2006 amateur free agent signing. 

Steven Matz – 2009 draft pick. 

Jenrry Mejia – 2007 amateur free agent signing. 

Akeel Morris -2010 draft pick. 

Daniel Murphy – 2006 draft pick. 

Bobby Parnell – 2005 draft pick. 

Addison Reed* – obtained in exchange for Matt Koch and Miller Diaz (signed by Mets in 2009).

Hansel Robles – 2008 amateur free agent.

Noah Syndergaard – part of Dickey trade (see d’Arnaud). 

Ruben Tejada – 2006 amateur free agent. 

Again, these players are in the roster because Alderson kept them. The decision of who to keep and trade is important. That is what makes them Alderson’s players and team. Additionally, while It was Alderson that hired Terry Collins, it was Minaya who brought him into the Mets organization. 

However, it is important to truly acknowledge Minaya’s role, especially when he has been unfairlyand wrongly   marginalized. 

You see I was on the same Jet Blue flight as Omar Minaya. The photo with this post was Minaya and me in the terminal before the flight. He was accessible to Mets fans who wanted to shake his hand and take a picture. No one, and I mean no one, had the “courage” to mock him on the flight.

Additionally, this should dispel the notion that Minaya left the Mets with a depleted farm system. On the contrary, he built a strong farm system that helped make up this team.  Minaya had his faults, and he probably deserved to be fired when he was. That doesn’t mean we should ignore his work. 

It doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t extend our gratitude to him for what he left behind. 

The Projected NLDS Roster

Now that the Mets have clinched the NL East, the time is fast approaching to set the NLDS roster. Keep in mind, this is for the NLDS only. The Mets can the roster if they advance to the NLCS. 

I’ve made some changes to my prior analysis. The reason is due to injuries to players like Juan Uribe. Another reason was the possibility that Jon Niese and Bartolo Colon may move to the bullpen. 

Note, this is not what I would do, but rather, what I think the Mets will do. I am taking into consideration the Dodgers lefty heavy starting rotation and lineup. Without further ado, here’s my best guess:

Catchers

1.  Travis d’Arnaud 

2.  Kevin Plawecki

Infielders

3.  Lucas Duda

4.  Daniel Murphy

5.  Kelly Johnson

6.  David Wright

7.  Ruben Tejada

8.  Wilmer Flores

Outfielders

9.  Michael Conforto

10. Michael Cuddyer

11. Yoenis Cespedes

12. Juan Lagares

13. Curtis Granderson

Pinch Runner

14. Eric Young, Jr.

Rotation

15. Matt Harvey

16. Jacob deGrom

17. Noah Syndergaard

18. Steven Matz

Bullpen

19. Jeurys Familia

20. Tyler Clippard

21. Addison Reed

22. Hansel Robles

23. Sean Gilmartin

24. Jon Niese

25. Bartolo Colon

I’m not 100% confident in this. I could see Uribe getting healthy enough to play knocking EY, Lagares, or Johnson out of the lineup. With all the lefties, I could see Eric Campbell or Dilson Herrera (3-4 with a walk, a homer, two runs, and a two RBIs on Sunday) making the team as well. 

I also think there is real competition and consideration for the last three bullpen spots. Erik Goeddel has been great all year (when healthy). Carlos Torres is a Terry Collins’ favorite, who may make the team if healthy. Logan Verrett has made his car all year bouncing between starting and reliever. If Colon takes Matz’s spot in the rotation, there will be more bullpen spots because the Mets won’t put Matz in the bullpen

No matter who is on the roster I’m excited for the playoffs again. Lets Go Mets!

Syndergaard Thortured the Reds

Well so much for the narrative that Noah Syndergaard can’t pitch on the road. He was so great tonight Keith was wondering if Thor was the best Mets pitcher. 

Thor was consistently around 98 MPH. Not topping off at 98, consistently at 98. His final line was 7.2 innings, 5 hits, 2 ER, 0 BB, and 11 Ks. Thor wasn’t touched until the seventh and after his 100th pitch. 

Offensively, Lucas Duda was awesome. He went 2-4 with two three run homeruns. The second homerun landed at the same Louisville Slugger facility where his bat was made. 

Curtis Granderson added his own three run homerun in the eighth to make the score 12-0. Granderson finished the night 2-5 with a double, the aforementioned homer, 2 runs, and 4 RBIs. Overall, the Mets offense had a second straight great night. Daniel Murphy went 2-4 with an RBI double and a run scored. 

The only starters without a hit was the red hot Ruben Tejada and the ice cold Travis d’Arnaud. In fact, they were the only starters without a multiple hit game, Thor included. 

Tonight would’ve been a laugher except for Juan Uribe seemingly reinjuring himself. He was pinch hitting for David Wright, which was the right move. However, with these expanded rosters and a 12-0 score, it should’ve been Eric Campbell, who wound up finishing the at bat. Honestly, I don’t know why the Mets did it. 

It was almost a laugher too because Eric O’Flaherty and Bobby Parnell had trouble getting the last out in the eighth.  When Thor left the game, it was 12-1 with a runner on. By the time Parnell finally got the last out it was 12-4. Tim Stauffer gave up a ninth inning homerun and could t get the last out. This trio was so bad that Hansel Robles had to come into the game to end the nonsense and finally secure the 12-5 win. 

With the Mets winning and the Nationals losing, the Mets can clinch tomorrow with Matt Harvey on the mound. It just seems fitting, doesn’t it?  

Mets Don’t Want Homefield Advantage in the NLDS

Terry Collins is 100% correct that you worry about getting to the playoffs, and then you let the chips fall where they may. I know I’m in the minority on this, but I don’t want the Mets fighting for homefield in the NLDS. 

The first reason is the rotation. We may not know who the fourth starter is, but we do know that Jacob deGromMatt Harvey, and Noah Syndergaard will get starts. We also know Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke will start Games 1 & 2. With Syndergaard’s home/road splits, I don’t want the Mets to have a reason to start Thor in Game 2 to keep him at Citi Field over Harvey. I like the idea of coming home and having a huge edge in the pitching matchup with Thor at home. 

The second reason is the Mets offense. Kershaw and Greinke are hard enough to hit. I know the Mets will be hitting in the shadows at Dodger Stadium, but the Mets hitters are better on the road. Yoenis Cespedes hits .220/.283/.484 at Citi Field. Daniel Murphy is hitting .256/.296/.429. Curtis Granderson is hitting .236/.331/.415 (although his Dodger Stadium numbers are similar). Travis d’Arnaud is .252/.320/.461. The Mets offense travels better. Let the have a better shot at getting going early in the playoffs than struggle at home. 

The final and most important reason is the importance of Games 3 & 4. The Mets would be coming home either down 0-2, tied 1-1, or up 2-0. If you’re down 0-2, there’s no place you’d rather be at home to stave off elimination. You’d also rather be home tied so you have a shot to go up 2-1 in front of a rabid fan base. If the Mets come home up 2-0, after beating Kershaw and Greinke, series over. 

Therefore, I don’t think homefield advantage is something you don’t want to get. Just get the team healthy and ready for the NLDS. 

Mets Magic Number is 6

Even though the Mets lost, the Mets Magic Number is now 6 because the Nationals lost to the Orioles. With the Mets having two Rule 5 picks pitching in a game, and both of the Mets young catchers getting into the game, I thought the best choice for magic number 6 would be Kelly Shoppach:

  
In 2012, the 74-88 Mets traded for the impending free agent Shoppach for a player to be named later. The idea was to get a good look at him to see if the team wanted to re-sign him and/or to get him to work with Josh Thole. Neither one would be back. 

Shoppach only hit .203/.276/.342 in 28 games. His play did not inspire the Mets to re-sign him. Thole would be moved in the famed R.A. Dickey trade that netted the Mets 2015 cornerstones, Noah Syndergaard and Travis d’Arnaud

The player to be named in the Shoppach deal was Pedro Beato, a former Rule 5 draft pick like Sean Gilmartin is this year. We did learn this year the player to be named later was almost Jacob deGrom, which would’ve been disastrous. Note, Sandy Alderson was reported to be alright with trading deGrom at the time until one of his advisors warned him not to make the deal. 

But I digress. The seeds of the 2015 Mets were laid in the 2012 offseason. Much of the way the roster is currently constituted has to do with the Shoppach trade and his faired as a Met. If he succeeded, it’s possible he stays, and who knows what happens with d’Arnaud from there?  Maybe nothing changes?  Maybe Shoppach isn’t as effective a mentor as John Buck. My doctor won’t let me address the deGrom possibilities. 
So as the Shoppach trade arguably set the wheels in motion, let’s offer a hat tip to Magic Man Number 6 Kelly Shoppach. 

The Mets Bullpen is Great

When the Mets added Addison Reed right before the waiver trade deadline, the Mets had their sights set on a shutdown 7-8-9 featuring three closers. So far, each of them have performed extremely well.

You know what’s shocking?  Even though the Mets have had the Addison Reed-Tyler ClippardJeurys Familia triumvirate together for three weeks, they only appeared together in the same game only three times. They’ve never collectively blown a lead, but the tandem has only resulted in one save. Like last night, it had more to do with the Mets tacking on eighth inning runs more than anything. 

In any event, Mets fans can be confident the bullpen can hold leads and/or keep the Mets in a game. I also believe the Mets will ride this trio hard because the Mets starters go deep into games. Jacob deGrom and Matt Harvey average 6.1 innings per start (average rounded down to nearest third of an inning). Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz average 6.0 innings per start (major league starts only). Bartolo Colon averages six innings per start. Jon Niese isn’t going to start in the playoffs. 
If you’re starters are going at least six, you only need your triumvirate. If your starters are going less than five, you’re in trouble anyway. Even if you need to pull a starter early, there are viable options. Hansel Robles has been terrific, especially in the second half with a 2.60 ERA, 0.904 WHIP, 12.4 K/9, and a triple slash of .173/.250/.429. He’s been good enough to consider him as part of a 6-7-8-9 shut down bullpen. 

In a do or die game, Terry Collins has shown he will manage accordingly. He will have a quick hook and trust his key bullpen arms. If he will lean heavily on these three or four guys that’s good news. Familia for one has shown the ability to go multiple innings. I imagine Collins is going to ride him like Joe Torre rode Mariano Rivera (calm down, it’s only a usage comparison). 

For people worrying about the 11 runs allowed by the bullpen on Sunday, don’t. Robles had a hick up. He’s allowed. Eric O’Flaherty pitched in that game while the game was still in the balance. He won’t pitch in the playoffs. I’m going to discount this game especially with the rough Robles outing and the relievers that appeared in the game. 

Overall, the Mets bullpen is in great shape heading into the playoffs. They can stretch out their main four guys in a do or die game. These guys can keep a game close or hold a lead. I’m even confident after the last Nationals series, Collins will deploy them properly and out them in a position to succeed. 

Surprisingly, the bullpen is a major strength of this team . . . even if no one is saying it. 

Thor May Be the Key to Everything

Even after all the trades, Mets fans knew/believed that the Mets would only go as far as their young pitching would take them. Mr he main focus was on the Matt HarveyJacob deGrom 1-2 punch. 

The problem is the rest of the NL has pretty good 1-2 punches in their own right, and that’s before you take Harvey’s innings limits into account. Let’s see who the NL playoff teams have: 

Dodgers

  1. Clayton Kershaw
  2. Zack Greinke

Cardinals

  1. Michael Wacha
  2. Carlos Martinez

Cubs

  1. Jake Arrieta
  2. Jon Lester

Pirates

  1. Gerrit Cole
  2. Francisco Liriano

With these matchups, you’d imagine the NL playoffs will be all about pitching. You can imagine the Mets being anywhere from up 2-0 to down 0-2. This is what makes Noah Syndergaard so important. He can give the Mets a lead in the series, put the other team on the brink, or get the Mets back in a series. 

Thor has answered every call thus far in a stellar rookie season. His games against the Nationals are much bigger than what he’ll experience this afternoon. Although, I suspect the crowd may have a little more juice. I’ll have faith in him no matter what happens today. 

October is going to become Hammer Time!