You wouldn’t know it, but before having Tommy John surgery, New York Mets starter Noah Syndergaard was on a career trajectory comparable to legend Justin Verlander.
When Noah Syndergaard (aka “Thor”) emerged as a starting pitcher for the New York Mets in 2015, he promptly became a fan favorite. Five years later, before it was announced that he was to have Tommy John surgery (TJS), Syndergaard was on track to deliver a career the likes of pitching legend Justin Verlander.
Now, before we take a deep dive into the numbers, let’s address the pink elephant in the room. The one thing that separates the two fire throwers without a doubt is their durability.
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In his first five seasons, Verlander started more games (132 GS vs 118 GS), tossed more innings (840 IP vs 716 IP) and had more seasons of 200 or more IP (3 vs 0) than Syndergaard did.
Other than that, when comparing each starter’s first five MLB seasons you come away with one conclusion: Syndergaard had a comparable, if not better looking, career trajectory than Verlander.
To determine this, I did a simple Baseball-Reference search for each player and then only took each player’s stats for their first 5-seasons. Here’s what I found:
- Noah Syndergaard has a better W-L% (.610) than Justin Verlander did (.602 W-L%)
- Syndergaard’s ERA (3.31) is better than Verlander’s (3.92 ERA)
- Syndergaard’s FIP (2.92) is better than Verlander’s (3.78)
- Syndergaard has more strikeouts (775) than Verlander did (746 K)
- His WHIP (1.161) is better than Verlander’s (1.285)
- And ALL of his rate stats are surprisingly better too:
- H9 – Thor: 8.4 | Verlander: 8.5
- HR9 – Thor 0.8 | Verlander: 0.9
- BB9 – Thor 2.1 | Verlander: 3.0
- SO9 – Thor 9.7 | Verlander: 8.0
We don’t want to fall victim to the fallacy of the predetermined outcome, but through 5 MLB seasons, it’s fair to say that Noah Syndergaard was on track to have a special big-league career.
Unfortunately, TJS will rob him at least a full season. What’s more, as Boston Globe reporter Alex Speier recently found:
“Once [pitchers who had TJS] got through a fully healthy offseason, Matt Carpenter, Tim Hudson, and Adam Wainwright all returned roughly to their prior levels of effectiveness, though it’s worth noting that all leaned heavily on the ability to generate bad contact and ground balls rather than outrageous strikeout rates
It’s hard to say what the once-promising New York Mets starter’s career will look like upon returning. Hopefully, he can pick up where he left off.
Syndergaard’s charisma, presence, and, let’s face it, his twitter page is just what baseball needs in these tough times. Get well soon, Thor!