Noah Syndergaard was named today the National League Player of the Week for the week of May 16-22. Syndergaard went 2-0 and didn’t allow an earned run over 14 innings, didn’t issue a walk and struck out 21 in two starts.
Syndergaard is just the fourth major leaguer to have consecutive starts without allowing an earned run or a walk and record double-digit strikeouts. The others to accomplish that feat are Nolan Ryan (1987), Jose Fernandez (2014) and Clayton Kershaw (2015). The only other Met to have consecutive double-digit strikeout games without a walk was Dwight Gooden (September 12 & 17, 1984) and he struck out 32.
Syndergaard has 76 strikeouts through his first nine starts, which are the third-most in team history. Only the legendary Tom Seaver had more through his first nine starts (88 in 1970 and 77 in 1971).
This was Syndergaard’s second Player of the Week Award in his career, as he had previously been named back on July 27-August 2, 2015. Syndergaard’s historic pace is garnering attention around the league, and he seems to be entering elite status right before our very eyes.
Syndergaard is not the first Met to win the award this season, as back on May 9th Bartolo Colon was named co-NL Player of the Week, after his great week of May 2nd-8th. During that week he slugged his first career home run and passed Pedro Martinez on the all-time Dominican pitchers win list.
A story making it’s rounds around the news cycle today is dealing with another Mets pitcher’s elbow. Noah Syndergaard had reportedly had his elbow examined by doctors two weeks ago, on May 2nd in New York at the Hospital for Special Surgery. Manager Terry Collins brought up the examination last night, when asked by a reporter why he did not let Syndergaard pitch the ninth inning after only throwing 95 pitches. Syndergaard also commented on the matter and declared it was a precautionary exam. Collins apparently was unaware of the examination taking place until it was brought to his attention after the fact.
“Two weeks ago … unbeknownst to me, he went and had his elbow looked at,” Collins stated to reporters after last night’s game. “So for 15 more pitches, no, it didn’t even cross my mind. We can talk about this young pitching all we want. We’re not going to hurt these guys for 15 more pitches in a game that’s 4-2. If it was 4-0, he’s going for a shutout, or he’s going for a no-hitter, or if he’s going for 21 strikeouts, I might let him go 10 or 12 more pitches. But not in a game like tonight.”
Well the speculation will begin from here on out if there is indeed with issues with Syndergaard’s elbow and/or workload after every start. I understand that Collins is trying to protect his young pitchers and not overwork them, which he has done a great job of managing since last season. The issue is Syndergaard remains the only pitcher out of the young five aces the Mets possess who has not undergone Tommy John surgery, and many question if his elbow is a ticking-time bomb with how hard he throws. In my opinion his delivery and mechanics are so smooth, that it does not appear to me that he puts a ton of torque on his elbow with every pitch. It’s just a concerning development nonetheless with Steven Matz recently experiencing elbow soreness. This is something Mets brass and Mets fans will monitor closely the rest of the season, but I don’t believe we should concern ourselves about it. At least not yet.