Noah Syndergaard Completely Unrecognizable To Mets Fans

This was not the Noah Syndergaard New York Mets fans had come to know and love. Since the postseason started, and we really got to see Syndergaard again, this is not the man we once knew as Thor.

There are some reasons for that. For starters, after his Tommy John surgery, Syndergaard is throwing 95 MPH and under instead of his 100 MPH fastballs. He’s mixing up his pitchers more instead of using his sheer brawn and will to dominate opposing batters. To a certain extent, he seems far more mellow.

This isn’t the pitcher who announced himself to the world by buzzing Alcides Escobar and telling all of baseball he’s 60’6″ away. He’s also not the guy who tried to deliver a message (not really) to Chase Utley to protect Ruben Tejada who was long gone. Instead, now, he’s become a version of Ronald McDonald with his love letter to Utley.

Instead, now, Syndergaard says he wanted to catch the first pitch thrown by Utley at the World Series. As he would tell Tim Healey of Newsday, “I’ve always admired the way he’s played the game. He’s a tremendous talent and I’m glad to be able to put on the same uniform as him.” Again, this is not the Syndergaard we knew from his seven years with the Mets.

He’s not out there trolling the Phillie Phanatic. He’s not being bombastic in any way. His Twitter is much quieter than it used to be. He doesn’t quite have the same arm. Overall, this is a completely different person.

Perhaps, part of the reason why is we never really knew Syndergaard. In August, Syndergaard admitted he personally struggled with the “New York energy” saying, “That energy that can make New York so great and positive can also bite you in the butt a little bit, especially with what I’m going through right now, a dip in velocity. I’m still trying to rely on location, mixing things up. I felt like if I was doing that playing here, everything would just be highlighted.” (Zach Braziller, New York Post).

On that, Syndergaard isn’t really wrong. When he missed two starts against the Mets, fans noticed and mocked him. Maybe it was injury. Maybe he just couldn’t handle facing the team and former teammates he loved. We don’t know, and as we have seen over the past year with Syndergaard, we never really knew him like we thought we did. Then again, we never really know any of these professional athletes.

Certainly, we did not know the Syndergaard from Game 5 of the World Series. He pitched at a diminished velocity and took the loss after allowing two earned over 3+ innings. Again, this was not the guy who was great in the 2015 postseason and out-pitched Madison Bumgarner over seven innings in the 2016 Wild Card Game.

This is now a humble person with diminished velocity. The man who loved the big stage admits he wasn’t keen on returning to it. That said, he’s still out there pitching in a big market.

Who knows where Syndergaard goes from here? Maybe it is back with the Mets even though his leaving was messy. Maybe he regains his velocity. Perhaps, he finds his way to the bullpen. Whatever the case, we are seeing a different pitcher and person than the one we once knew, or better yet, thought we knew. In the end, all we can do is wish him luck and happiness as he tries to reclaim part of what once made him a great pitcher with the Mets.