If the MLB season was starting on time, the New York Mets would have a starting rotation problem. Noah Syndergaard has a torn UCL in his pitching elbow and will soon undergo Tommy John surgery.
ESPN’s Jeff Passan first reported the news.
Syndergaard, 27, has never had Tommy John before. He missed most of the 2017 season with a torn lat muscle, and missed time in 2018 with a strained index finger ligament and hand, foot and mouth disease (remember that?), but has largely been injury free and wickedly productive.
His numbers, though, took a big dip in 2019. From 2015 to 2018, his first four years in the majors, Syndergaard had a 2.93 ERA with a 2.66 FIP and above-average peripherals. In 2019, he ended the year with the highest innings total of his career, but also the highest ERA at 4.28.
It could be that he was pitching hurt the entire year and didn’t know it. Or the dip could be completely unrelated to his health and instead may have stemmed from the particularly homer-prone baseball that was being used last season. Either way, it was disconcerting to see one of baseball’s best pitchers struggle so much.
Tommy John surgery is never a good thing, but there’s almost no better time for Syndergaard to discover that he needs it. With the MLB season indefinitely suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic and unlikely to get going before June (and possibly even July), Syndergaard will only miss this abbreviated season. While he could miss a bit of the 2021 season depending on how his rehab progresses, the sting of missing a full MLB season is definitely lessened — not just for Syndergaard, but for the Mets, too.
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