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Noah Syndergaard Traded to Phillies - Fantasy Baseball Impact

On Wednesday, the Phillies made several deadline deals in preparation for a playoff run. The biggest acquisition for the Phils was a deal that brought in Angels' right-hander Noah Syndergaard, giving Philadelphia another solid starter in their rotation.

The 6'6" righty better known as "Thor" by baseball fans isn't the pitcher he once was, but the Phillies weren't really in the market for a high-end starter and were looking for a #3 starter to slot in behind Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola. The price was just two prospects in Mickey Moniak and Jadiel Sanchez since  Syndergaard is only under contract for the remainder of the season and wasn't highly sought after with Toronto being the only other club that had been reportedly been eyeing him.

Phillies fans won't have to wait long to get a glimpse of Syndergaard as he's scheduled to make his Philly debut tonight against the Nationals at home. Let's take a brief look at Syndergaard's season in Anaheim so far and perhaps speculate a bit about what the move to Philadelphia might do for his fantasy value for the rest of the season.

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The New Thor

Syndergaard is 29 years old, which is still pretty young for a pitcher and we've seen plenty of other really good pitchers reinvent themselves (Kevin Gausman, Charlie Morton, to name a few) in the middle of their careers.

One look at his Statcast sliders gives a quick glimpse at the type of pitcher he's been this season - a pretty average one at best. He still throws harder than the average pitcher but with his two-seamer and four-seamer sitting at 94, he's no longer the hard-thrower he was when he broke out with the Mets and was throwing 97-98. He's done a decent enough job of limiting hard contact, but he's longer a strikeout pitcher.

Let's compare his stats this year to his last full season with the Mets in 2019, before all of his arm troubles.

2019: 4.28 ERA, 3.83 xFIP, 1.23 WHIP, 24.5 K%, 20.3% HC%, 51.9% GB%, 13.5% SwStr%

2022: 3.83 ERA, 4.21 xFIP, 1.21 WHIP, 18.9 K%, 25.5% HC%, 44.9% GB%, 11.4% SwStr%

We should note that 2019's numbers already showed a drop-off from what Syndergaard had done from 2015-2018 when he posted some really elite strikeout numbers and low ERAs. It's been great to see him out there pitching again, but he's been striking out fewer hitters than the league average (21%) and his SwStr% is perfectly average, too (11.5% is the norm). He's still getting more groundballs than the average pitcher (43.9%), but not by much, and gone are the days of 50% or better from his peak Mets days.

I'm not trying to trash Syndergaard by any means, but has he been worth his 21 million dollar salary this year? Consider that Kevin Gausman, Robbie Ray, and Carlos Rodon are all making about the same money and it's an easy answer that no, he has not.

If we look at his pitch mix, we can see that is trying to evolve and figure out how to best thrive with his current stuff and he's moving towards a really balanced attack where he's throwing all five of his pitches between 15-25% of the time. The most noticeable trend is fewer four-seam fastballs in favor or more curveballs, with the sinker/slider/change trio remaining his top three offerings.

Is Syndergaard better than the Phillies' current #3 and #4 starters, Kyle Gibson and Ranger Suarez? Gibson, maybe, but not really by much if you want to pour over the stats and Suarez has been better in nearly every category.

This was a solid move for their starting pitching depth, and bringing in a well-known name has to energize the fan base a bit, but let's remember that this isn't the same dominant "Thor" that we were used to seeing early in his career.

 

Run Support, Defense, and Park Factor

Similar to Frankie Montas, who left the Athletics for the Yankees, Syndergaard is getting a major upgrade in terms of the offense behind him. The Angels have the sixth-worst offense (3.87) in terms of runs scored per game this season, while the Phillies have the eighth-best (4.62).

The Phillies' defense, however, has been an Achilles heel of theirs this season and they rank near the bottom of the league in runs team defense runs saved. The Angels weren't better (only two spots better) so it's not that much of a downgrade.

As far as park factors go, it is a pretty significant upgrade for Thor as the Angels' stadium has been the fourth-best (behind only Coors, Fenway, and G.A.B) for hitters over the last three years (a lot of people don't realize how hitter-friendly that venue is). Citizens Bank Park ranks 14th in park factor, right about in the middle of all stadiums, and plays slightly more favorable to hitters, but much closer to neutral than Syndergaard's former park in Anaheim.

 

Expectations and Conclusion

Syndergaard has been a useful pitcher and has shown he can still eat innings and pitch effectively, but Phillies fans and fantasy managers alike should still temper their expectations because this is a former ace who

I  don't think we bump up Syndergaard's value all that much. A few more wins in his record, perhaps, but he will have some challenging match-ups with Atlanta and the Mets in the division down the stretch, too. If he can continue his current level of production, then he still has some decent value in standard leagues, but I don't see any reason to think he's going to suddenly have more success in Philadelphia. He is who he is now.

As far as the prospects go, Moniak already made his Angels debut last night (0-2 before being pinch hit for) and seems like he will have a shot at some regular playing time, but is hardly worth an add in any format until we see him do something. And Sanchez is a long way off from the majors, and not highly rated enough to even warrant any consideration in dynasty leagues.



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