Heading into the second half of the 2014 MLB season, it is easy to see which teams have become buyers and sellers. In the sellers' case, when trading away pieces, the likely corresponding move is to bring up MLB prospects in place of the departing player. When players are traded in MLB, it creates opportunities for the saavy fantasy owner. When teams such as the Mets, Red Sox and Diamondbacks eventually succumb to their inevitable fates, they have prospects that will likely make the biggest overall splashes. In the New York's case, this of course leads to their top pitching prospect and #10 overall Baseball America prospect, Noah Syndergaard.
New York Mets Top Prospect Noah Syndergaard
Syndergaard, one of the prospects at the heart of the trade of R.A. Dickey to the Jays, has the Mets looking to 2015 and beyond. Like other young pitchers Matt Harvey and Zach Wheeler in years past, the 21-year-old will likely be making his MLB debut in the dog days of summer.
When he actually gets the call could depend on when the Mets, currently in fourth place in the NL East, decide to cut their losses for the 2014 season. Bartolo Colon has recently been made available in trade talks, and with him being signed through next season, he has more appeal than the average piece of trade bait who typically has a contract only until the end of the current season. If Colon is traded, that potentially leaves a spot open for Syndergaard, who could use the experience this season to gear him up for his hopeful rise to stardom.
What to Expect for Fantasy Baseball
Despite dealing with a minor injury and some bad outings, Syndergaard has shown promise in the minors. He has gone 7-4 in 16 starts with a 82 strikeouts against 23 walks. His 5.31 ERA and .303 BA against are troublesome, but can be attributed to early-season injuries that seemed to have healed. Syndergaard's last outing was one of his best starts of 2014, going seven strong innings of six-hit ball and allowing just one run with eight strikeouts and no walks en route to the win. During the MLB Futures Game, he also picked up the save, pitching a scoreless ninth inning to give the US Futures the 3-2 win. With this recent success, things seem to be headed in the right direction for the youngster.
Even throughout the early struggles this year, Syndergaard has always had nasty stuff. He has a four-seam fastball that touches 98 mph. His go-to secondary pitch is a curveball, and though he only really developed it over the past year, it's on the way to becoming a a plus offering. The curve maxes out at only 82 mph, but it can straight baffle hitters when mixed in with his harder secondary pitches, a changeup and a slider that gets up to 88 mph. Interestingly enough, scouts have noted that his slider actually seems more like a hard cutter, which can be very difficult for hitters to pick up.
Syndergaar'ds stuff is too good to ignore when he gets called up, and despite his early struggles in the minors this year, he seems to finally have a path to the majors. Whether or not Colon is traded, it's a safe estimate that Syndergaard will be in Queens before the year is through, probably sometime in August. In fantasy terms, Syndergaard will be a high-ceiling mixed-league option once the Mets finally pull the trigger.