Noah Seth Syndergaard (born August 29, 1992), nicknamed Thor , is an American professional baseball pitcher for the New York Mets of Major League Baseball (MLB). Syndergaard made his MLB debut on May 12, 2015. He was named an All-Star in 2016, and the Mets Opening Day starting pitcher in 2017.

Early life

Noah Syndergaard was born to Heidi, an Abbott Laboratories employee, and Brad Syndergaard, an "Iowa farmboy," in Mansfield , Texas , outside of Fort Worth . [2] Brad has two other children by a prior marriage, but Noah is Heidi's only child. [2] Brad gave Noah valuable input at every level of his career and Noah has described his father as the best coach that he has ever had. [2] The Syndergaards, like many families in Texas, were "a football family" but Noah did not seriously play any sports other than baseball. [3] [4] Syndergaard's mother encouraged her son to pursue baseball when he was a child. [3] He hit his first over-the-fence home run when he was seven years old. [2] Syndergaard grew up watching the Texas Rangers of Major League Baseball (MLB) and strongly disliked his family's favorite team, the NFL 's Dallas Cowboys . [3]

Syndergaard attended Mansfield Legacy High School in Mansfield, Texas. During his junior year of high school, Syndergaard experienced a growth spurt, growing by 3 to 4 inches (76 to 102 mm) to reach 6 feet 6 inches (1.98 m). [3] Syndergaard also began weight training , and his velocity improved greatly in his senior year at Mansfield, reaching 96 miles per hour (154 km/h). [3] [5] However, his late development still caused him to be somewhat overlooked by talent evaluators. [6] Syndergaard also played basketball at Mansfield.

After talking to coaches at the University of Oklahoma , the University of Nebraska , and Baylor University , he committed to attend Dallas Baptist University to play college baseball for the Dallas Baptist Patriots . Dallas Baptist was the only school that offered him a college baseball scholarship. [74]

Professional career

Minor leagues

The Toronto Blue Jays selected Syndergaard in the first round, with the 38th overall selection, of the 2010 MLB Draft . [5] He signed with the Blue Jays, receiving a $600,000 signing bonus to forego his commitment to Dallas Baptist. [10]

In 2011, Syndergaard pitched for the Bluefield Blue Jays of the Rookie-level Appalachian League , the Vancouver Canadians of the Class A-Short Season Northwest League , and the Lansing Lugnuts of the Class A Midwest League . Before the 2012 season, MLB.com rated him as the 95th-best prospect in baseball. [75] He pitched alongside highly touted Blue Jays prospects Justin Nicolino and Aaron Sanchez in the minor leagues. The pitchers were together known as the "Vancouver Trio" and the "Lansing Trio" when they played for the Canadians and Lugnuts respectively. [6] He pitched for Lansing in 2012, and appeared in the Midwest League All-Star Game . [13]

On December 17, 2012, the Blue Jays traded Syndergaard, Travis d'Arnaud , John Buck and Wuilmer Becerra to the New York Mets for R.A. Dickey , Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas . [76] At the time of the trade, Syndergaard and d'Arnaud were two of the Blue Jays' top three prospects, and Dickey was the reigning winner of the Cy Young Award for the National League . [16]

Entering his first season in the Mets organization, Syndergaard was rated as the team's third-best prospect, behind Zack Wheeler and d'Arnaud. [17] He began the 2013 season with the St. Lucie Mets of the Class A-Advanced Florida State League (FSL), and was named an FSL All-Star. [18] He was promoted to the Binghamton Mets of the Class AA Eastern League in late June. He was selected for the 2013 All-Star Futures Game . [77]

In 2014, Syndergaard pitched for the Las Vegas 51s of the Class AAA Pacific Coast League , where he had a 9–7 win–loss record , a 4.60 earned run average (ERA), and 145 strikeouts , which led the league. The Mets decided not to promote Syndergaard to the major leagues as part of its September call-ups . [22] Syndergaard began the 2015 season with Las Vegas, pitching to a 3–0 record with a 1.82 ERA. [23]

New York Mets

2015

Syndergaard made his major league debut for the Mets against the Chicago Cubs on May 12 at Wrigley Field in Chicago. [24] Syndergaard earned the loss as the Mets lost 6–1. He threw 103 pitches in five and one-thirds innings pitched while giving up 3 runs on six hits with six strikeouts and four walks. He earned his first strikeout against Cubs' leadoff hitter Dexter Fowler to start off his debut in the first inning. [25]

On May 27, Syndergaard hit his first major league home run, a solo home run, off of Sean O'Sullivan of the Philadelphia Phillies . He had three hits in the game, tying a franchise record for pitchers with three hits in a game. [26] [27] On July 10, he recorded a career-high 13 strikeouts in eight innings against the Arizona Diamondbacks , giving up one run, four hits and two walks and earning the win. [28] On August 3, he and Mets teammate Lucas Duda were named National League Co-Players of the Week for the week of July 27 to August 2. [29] In his first start during that week, on July 28, he pitched eight scoreless innings against the San Diego Padres , striking out nine and only issuing three hits and no walks on the way to a 4-0 Mets victory. [30] On August 2, Syndergaard again struck out nine over eight innings, surrendering two runs on seven hits and no walks in a victory over the Washington Nationals . [31] [32]

On August 8, according to the Elias Sports Bureau , Syndergaard became the first rookie since 1900 to win two consecutive starts with nine strikeouts and no walks in each start. [33] He finished his rookie season with a 9-7 record and a 3.24 ERA in 24 starts, with the ability to throw his fastball at 100 miles per hour at times, he struck out 166 batters and gave up 31 walks (2 intentional), 126 hits, 60 runs (54 of them earned), and 19 home runs in only 150 innings with a WHIP of 1.047.

Syndergaard started in Game 2 of the 2015 National League Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers . He picked up the loss in that game as the Dodgers won 5-2, but he only allowed three runs in 6 1 3 innings pitched with nine strikeouts and four walks. [34] On October 15, he made his first Major League relief appearance in Game 5 . He pitched a scoreless seventh inning in that game, helping the Mets secure the victory and advance to the 2015 National League Championship Series (NLCS). [35] He started Game 2 of the NLCS and picked up the victory, giving up three hits, one run, and one walk while striking out nine in 5 2 3 innings pitched. The Mets swept the Cubs in four games and won the National League pennant, their first since 2000 .

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Syndergaard pitching against the Baltimore Orioles on August 19, 2015

Syndergaard started Game 3 of the 2015 World Series against the Kansas City Royals with the Mets already trailing 2 games to none in the series. [37] He got the victory in that game, allowing three runs, seven hits, two walks and striking out six in six innings as the Mets cruised to a 9-3 win. [38] It was the only game in the series that the Mets won, as the Royals went on to win in five games.

2016

Syndergaard made his season debut in the second game of the season, defeating the Royals at Kauffman Stadium on April 5. [39] On April 12, Syndergaard struck out 12 batters, obtaining 26 swings and misses, which was the most by a Mets pitcher in 15 years. [40] His 21 strikeouts in his first two starts of the season tied a club record along with Pedro Martínez and Dwight Gooden . [41]

On April 18, Syndergaard made his third start of the season against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park pitching for his second win of the year going seven innings allowing one run, five hits, two walks and struck out eight. Through his first three starts, Syndergaard is 2–0 with a 0.90 ERA, 29 strikeouts and four walks in 20 innings. [42] With that he also has thrown at least eight strikeouts while allowing no more than one run in all three of his starts to begin a season in the last 100 years since Randy Johnson when he went four games with those stats in 1995. [43] With those numbers, he now ranks second in Mets history with the most strikeouts in first three starts of the season with twenty-nine surpassing Tom Seaver (1971 with 28), Nolan Ryan (1970 with 28) and behind Pedro Martínez with thirty in 2005. [44]

On May 11, Syndergaard hit two home runs for his second and third career home runs off opposing Los Angeles Dodgers starter Kenta Maeda at Dodger Stadium . He became the first Mets pitcher to hit two home runs in a game since Walt Terrell did it on August 6, 1983 against Ferguson Jenkins of the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field in a 4–1 win. Both Terrell and Syndergaard are the only Mets pitchers to homer twice in the same game and drive in all four runs. Noah became the first pitcher to hit two home runs in one game since Micah Owings did it for the Arizona Diamondbacks on August 18, 2007. Syndergaard's four RBI tied a Dodger Stadium single-game record for a pitcher since Lew Burdette of Milwaukee on July 10, 1958. Syndergaard pitched eight innings, allowed six hits, two runs and walked one while striking out six to win his first game since April 18. [45] [46]

For the second time in his career, Syndergaard was named the National League Player of the Week for the week of May 16–May 22. Syndergaard during the week went 2–0 with a 0.00 ERA with 21 strikeouts in 14 innings pitched. [47] On May 28, Syndergaard had his first career ejection when the umpire felt he intentionally threw a pitch behind the back of Chase Utley , which was considered retaliation for Utley injuring Ruben Tejada on a dirty slide in Game 2 of the 2015 NLDS [48]

Syndergaard came back and continued to dominate in June, including coming two outs shy of what would have been his first career complete game against the Pittsburgh Pirates on June 15. However, in his last start of the month, Syndergaard pitched badly against his divisional rival Washington Nationals , as he went just three innings, allowing 5 runs on 7 hits and 3 walks. He also allowed 5 stolen bases, which led to the 5 runs. The next day, on June 28, it was revealed that Syndergaard and teammate Steven Matz had pitching most of the season with bone spurs in the back of their pitching elbows. It was indicated that Syndergaard's spur was less significant and it will be treated with anti-inflammatory medication. Mets GM Sandy Alderson said that Syndergaard would not need to have the spur removed during the offseason.

Syndergaard rebounded after his rough start in Washington with a brilliant outing on July 3 against the Chicago Cubs . He went 7 innings, allowing just one run, and struck out 8 batters. On July 5, he was named to the National League roster for the 2016 Major League Baseball All-Star Game at Petco Park with fellow first time All-Star Jeurys Familia and Mets manager Terry Collins , but was later injured along with teammate Yoenis Céspedes on July 8, forcing both to miss the game. [49] [78] He started the 2016 NL Wild Card Game and pitched seven shutout innings, but the Mets lost to the San Francisco Giants . [79]

Syndergaard finished eighth in Cy Young Award voting. He also placed in a three-way tie with Christian Yelich and Addison Russell for nineteenth in voting for the 2016 National League Most Valuable Player Award . [80]

2017

Syndergaard started on Opening Day for the Mets in 2017. Against the Atlanta Braves, Syndergaard struck out seven over six innings and got a base hit in a 6-0 Mets victory. He left the game early due to a blister on his middle finger which caused him to get a no decision. [81] On April 30, Syndergaard left the game after experiencing tightness in his right biceps. The next day, on May 1, he was placed on the 10-day disabled list due to a torn lat muscle in his right arm. [82] [83] He was transferred to the 60-day disabled list on May 7. [84]

Pitching style

The 6-foot-6 right-hander throws from an overhand delivery. [85] PITCHf/x data shows him throwing two fastballs (four-seam, sinker) at 95–99 miles per hour (153–159 km/h), while occasionally hitting 101 mph, along with a curveball between 80–84 miles per hour (129–135 km/h), a changeup , and a slider at 88–92 miles per hour (142–148 km/h). [86] He added the slider to his repertoire during his first season in the majors. He initially began working with it to increase the spin on his curveball, saying in July 2015, "As of now, I’m just a fastball / curveball / changeup guy." [54] However, by that year's postseason, he was using the pitch with regularity, throwing 17 in his first playoff appearance. [55]

On his mound presence, Syndergaard has said, "I feel like most people think I'm kind of this quiet guy, but when I'm on the mound ... I try to be as intimidating as possible. I try to use that as a weapon of mine. I feel like I'm on top of the world when I'm on the mound." [56]

Personal life

Syndergaard is a weightlifting enthusiast and is capable of squatting 455 pounds (206 kg) and deadlifting 512 pounds (232 kg). [3] After he shared a photo of himself weight training while dressed as the superhero Thor , due to the similarity between his last name and the fictional location Asgard , he acquired the nickname "Thor". [74] [57] Syndergaard has embraced the nickname; his mother has an Australian Shepherd named Thor and Syndergaard has "Thor" stitched into one of his gloves . [2] Syndergaard has taken to naming all of his gloves after fictional characters. He has previously used gloves named " Drago " (after the Rocky IV character), " Heisenberg " (after the alias of a Breaking Bad character) and " Rick Grimes " (after The Walking Dead character). [2] Syndergaard auctions his gloves off in order to raise money for the Sjögren's Syndrome Foundation, which raises money to fight Sjögren's disease , an autoimmune disease from which his mother suffers. Syndergaard recently played an unnamed Lannister spearman in a Season 7 episode of Game of Thrones on HBO . [58]

Other Media Appearances

Syndergaard made a special appearance in the season six episode of Impractical Jokers , Take Me Out to the Ball Game during a punishment scene held at an autograph session in which Joe Gatto had to steal baseballs autographed for children by Syndergaard.