Syndergaard Ready For The Next Step

The Mets acquired right-hander Noah Syndergaard as part of a package of prospects from the Toronto Blue Jays back in December in exchange for R.A. Dickey. Whether it's in regards to further advancing his overall game or with his new organization, he says he's ready to take the next step.

"I had no idea that I was even being brought up in the trade conversations," he said. "I guess it was a Saturday, I went to bed hearing it was going to be Anthony Gose and [Travis] d'Arnaud in the trade and I went to help run a camp the next day, and I saw that my name had been thrown out there.

"I called my agent and he told me if he sees anything he'd let me know. Thirty minutes later he texted me and said 'it looks like this is getting pretty serious so just stand by'. In the next few days there were more and more rumors where it looked like I was going to be a Met."

The trade came down on December 17th as Syndergaard, Travis D'Arnaud, Wuilmer Becerra, and John Buck went to the Mets in exchange for R.A. Dickey and Josh Thole, and with it came some mixed emotions.

"I was a little sad," Syndergaard admitted. "It was kind of bittersweet because I love being a Blue Jay.

"It's a great organization with a big fan base and I made a lot of friends there, but I'm also excited to be a part of the Mets system and work my way through the minor leagues and get to the big leagues as fast as possible with them."

The towering right-hander has been the epitome of growing ever since his supplemental first round selection out of Legacy High School in Texas. Standing 6-foot-7 now and weighing 245 pounds, the numbers keep getting better and so does his game.

He went 8-5 with a 2.60 ERA for the low-A Lansing Lugnuts in the Midwest League last year, striking out a whopping 122 batters in just 103 2/3 innings.

"Last year went pretty well," he said. "I had to handle some adversity at the beginning of the season with the piggy-backing system and coming in a relief role.

"It was kind of difficult on me but once I got my own routine going down I was able to settle in and I went out there every five days and knew what I was going to do. I wasn't going to start one game and relieve another game."

It's never easy for any young pitcher to get the necessary work in on the various aspects of his game when he was pitching only a few innings at a time like Syndergaard was in the beginning of the 2012 season, but he felt like he was able to accomplish his main goals.

"Overall I was just more mature as a pitcher," he said. "I was also working on the run game. I know in the previous year I wasn't controlling the run game very well but last year I thought I did a good job speeding my times up to home plate and varying my looks."

He did not just speed up his delivery either. His curveball, which had always shown great depth but not much power, also added some speed to it last year.

"My curveball also got a lot better because they implemented the slider and somehow the slider was able to speed up my curveball.

"My curveball was probably like 70 mph [in previous years and] in the beginning of the year but towards the end of the year I was able to get to 80 mph with sharper break. It ended up being a plus pitch for me."

Considering he had already boasted two plus big league fastballs that range anywhere from 94-99 mph and a plus changeup that he has the utmost confidence in, the much improved breaking ball is a welcomed addition as he gets set to open some eyes in his new organization.

Now that he has his pitches right where he wants them, he says he just wants to continue to throw all three for strikes consistently and learn to set up batters in different manners going forward.

But as he gets set to take the next step both in his development and with his new team, he can't help but reflect just how much his game has improved in his first two professional seasons.

"It's night and day. It's unbelievable how far I've come with the different style of pitching. In high school all you'd do is throw a fastball right down the middle and nobody would hit it, and you didn't really have to have a changeup or a curveball.

"Now you have to locate your fastball to both sides of the plate down at the knees and you have to establish some secondary pitches. The sky's the limit I guess. I feel like I'm not where I need to be to be a big league pitcher and I'm going to strive to get there," he concluded.

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