Despite repeatedly hitting 100 mph with his fastball and not allowing a run in 2.1 innings, Noah Syndergaard said after Wednesday's game that he's working this spring to throw more like former teammate Bartolo Colon, who rarely cracked 90 mph.
According to Syndergaard, his goal is to have a similarly effortless, straightforward delivery, something Colon was known for despite being 43 years old and weighing 285 pounds.
"He's very light on his feet," Syndergaard said jokingly.
May 31, 2016; Colon (40) laughs with Syndergaard (34) and Jacob deGrom (48) during batting practice before a game against the Chicago White Sox at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
"Where he would land, there would be essentially no foot mark because he would land so soft," he added in a more serious tone. "That's what I'm trying to get to."
In this regard, despite the box score, Syndergaard said he failed against the Red Sox on Wednesday, as he's been making slight mechanical adjustments to his delivery this spring.
Colon joined the Mets in 2014. Syndergaard joined the Mets the following season and formed an instant bond with the jovial, deceptively-good Colon, who left New York this past winter to sign a one-year, $12.5 million deal with the Braves.
In 30 starts for the Mets last season, Syndergaard was 14-9 with a 2.61 ERA and 216 strikeouts during 182.2 innings pitched, after which he tossed seven shutout innings against the Giants in the NL Wild Card game at Citi Field.
"This guy gets it," Terry Collins said after his team defeated the Red Sox at First Data Field. "He may play the Thor game, but he gets it. He knows what he's got to do."
As a result of focusing on his mechanics, Syndergaard told reporters he was throwing at only 85-90 percent capacity during Wednesday's game.
"I don't think I've really amped it up to 100 percent yet, just because I want to be able to feel everything that's going on in my mechanics," he explained. "Once I start to feel more comfortable, that's when I start ramping it up."
I absolutely love that Noah works so hard at his craft, but does it in a way that he isn't anxious about it (like, say, a Mike Pelfrey was when he was with the Mets). Also, Noah isn't just focused on improving as a pitcher, he also takes very seriously his mental state and his overall health, including why and what he eats and drinks. I don't know him that well, but I get the sense he's a bit of information junkie and probably enjoyed science as a kid, because he clearly takes a holistic approach to being the best professional athlete he can be.
In regards to the rest of his spring, I estimate he'll likely get four more Grapefruit League starts. However, if the final start lands on March 29 against the Braves, which it very well could, I bet the Mets switch that start in to a simulated game or something in private since he'll be facing the Braves again on Opening Day the next week...
By the way, in case you're wondering, when Syndergaard puts his hair up in that twist and bun, he calls it a "Syn-a-bun," according to his Tweet after the game.