The most publicized pieces of the R.A. Dickey trade for the New York Mets were the catchers involved. The Mets received not only a top hitting catching prospect in Travis D'Arnaud, but also the team's current catcher, All Star candidate John Buck. While it is easy to assume the Mets received a great return based on D'Arnaud's potential and Buck's hot start at the plate, a sometimes forgotten piece of the deal is continuing to improve down on the farm. Pitcher Noah Syndergaard was the third critical piece of the R.A. Dickey trade, and he is currently working on his craft down at Single A Port St. Lucie. Syndergaard's development early on is the focus of this week's edition of Minor League Mondays.
Syndergaard, a 6'6 right handed starter, is only 20 years old and is starting off his Mets career with the High A Port St. Lucie Mets. Syndergaard is off to a quick start for St. Lucie, going 1-1 with a 2.90 ERA in his first month as a Met. Syndergaard has 31 strikeouts against only 12 walks in 31 innings pitched, a good sign for his control. Syndergaard's last start against the Tampa Yankees was outstanding, as he allowed only one unearned runs on five hits while striking out seven en route to his first victory of the season. The start marked the first time Syndergaard pitched seven innings as a professional, and it left St. Lucie pitching coach Phil Regan raving about the young righty. (Check out this article by MILB.com's Jonathan Raymond for more on Regan's thoughts).
Syndergaard, who entered the season as the team's third ranked prospect, has the potential to become a top shelf starting pitcher for the team. Syndergaard is so highly regarded that MILB.com's Jonathan Mayo, who ranked him tenth in a preseason prospect watch for right handed starters, could not only be better than fellow prospect Zack Wheeler but end up becoming the best player in the R.A. Dickey trade. That is a huge statement, particularly since D'Arnaud is widely regarded as the best catching prospect in baseball. Syndergaard's size and his ability to throw hard give him amazing potential at the major league level.
One key for Syndergaard moving forward will be continuing to develop his breaking pitches. While his fastball is already nasty, Syndergaard will need more than just a 95 mile per hour heater to succeed at the major league level. Syndergaard is ticketed to spend most of this season at Single A Port St. Lucie, but if he continues to rapidly improve he could make a cameo appearance at AA Binghamton by the end of 2013. Syndergaard is not going to make an impact for the Mets this season, but if he continues to improve he could be the ultimate steal in the R.A. Dickey trade.
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