The 2020 season hasn’t even started yet, and the New York Mets already received their first major injury blow of the year. Noah Syndergaard, who was expected to be the team’s second starter, will not pitch at all this year and will miss at least the first half of the 2021 campaign.
As it turns out, the Mets’ starter has a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. The expectation, according to Jeff Passan, is that he goes under the knife with the Tommy John surgery.
Per the Mets’ official Twitter account, Syndergaard will undergo the surgery on Thursday, March 26. The team’s medical director David Altchek will perform it.
The New York Mets had six starters for five rotation spots prior to receiving the Thor news. Now, Michael Wacha and Steven Matz will likely make the rotation alongside new signing Rick Porcello, righty Marcus Stroman and ace and two-time Cy Young award winner Jacob deGrom.
The Mets’ playoff odds get a huge hit
The Mets’ odds of making the playoffs suffer a severe hit with this development. Thor was looking good in spring training before play was halted because of concerns surrounding public health due to the coronavirus outbreak. His slider was biting and he put up a lot of work during the offseason to get in shape.
For his career, Syndergaard has a 3.31 ERA in 716 innings pitched, with a much better 2.92 FIP. He has been dominant in the past but struggled a bit in 2019, at least for his standards: the overpowering Mets’ righty had a 4.28 ERA (3.60 FIP) in 197.2 frames, with a 9.20 K/9 and a 2.28 BB/9.
The New York Mets will have to replace the 4.4 fWAR Syndergaard accrued in 2019. While Wacha and Porcello are quality righties in one-year deals, they don’t have the sheer upside that a healthy and motivated Thor contributes to the rotation. Manager Luis Rojas will have to cope with the absence of one his most talented hurlers for the 2020 season, if it ever starts.