In parts of five seasons in The Show, ‘Thor’ has a fine 3.31 ERA in 716 frames, showcasing an impressive ability to miss bats evidenced by his 9.74 strikeouts per nine innings.
He can push his four-seam fastball near triple digits and can miss bats with three secondaries: his slider, changeup, and curveball.
A pair of vicious 92mph and 93mph sliders from Noah Syndergaard. Filllllthy. pic.twitter.com/IaxjhDEL99
— Nick Pollack (@PitcherList) March 29, 2018
His performance in the 2016 season gives us a better idea about how dominant Syndergaard can be.
That year, he had a 2.60 ERA in 183.2 innings, with 218 punchouts against just 43 walks.
He struggled a bit (for his standards) in his last fully healthy season, 2019, with a 4.28 ERA.
Currently sidelined while recovering from elbow surgery, it’s fair to wonder: Can Syndergaard ever return to the form he displayed during his best days as a pitcher?
A Long Road Back
During 2020 spring training, when he was getting himself ready for the start of the season (which was later delayed a few months due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the conflict between MLB and the MLBPA) Syndergaard got hurt.
Unfortunately for him and the Mets, he needed Tommy John surgery, as he had ligament damage in his right elbow.
He underwent the procedure last March and was immediately ruled out for the 2020 campaign and part of 2021.
The Mets had hoped he could come back at some point in June, and he was already at the point of making rehab starts.
Last week, he pitched four successful innings with the Mets’ Low-A affiliate.
This week, Syndergaard was expected to ramp his pitch count up a little and throw four or five frames.
He ended up leaving his start after one inning, after reporting some discomfort in his right elbow.
Manager Luis Rojas informed the media that he didn’t expect the setback to be overly serious, calling his exit ‘precautionary’.
Mets announce Syndergaard left "for precautionary reasons due to right elbow soreness."
— Tim Britton (@TimBritton) May 25, 2021
The team sent their talented pitcher for an MRI on his right elbow, which later revealed that it had no structural damage, which was a sigh of relief for the Mets.
The club, however, decided to take the safe route and shut down their star hurler for six weeks.
After that, Syndergaard will presumably start the whole process from scratch, from playing catch, to bullpens, live batting practice, rehab games, and then, if he reports no issues, he could make it back to the Mets.
It’s possible that Syndergaard doesn’t make it back before the end of the season, although the current plan is for him to rest and start ramping up again.
Can He Get Back To Form?
For the Mets, the priority is getting Thor healthy and in a good position to succeed.
There is no reason to think Syndergaard can’t return to his old form one day, which could be this season or next, but he won’t do so if he can’t get healthy and on a major league mound.
In his current position, it will take some time, since he had a setback after elbow reconstruction surgery.
The good thing is that there is no structural damage, but he did report soreness, so he will need to rest.
Syndergaard still has a future in MLB, as he is only 28 years old.
He can regain his old form, but it will take some time.