The eye-popping stats behind Noah Syndergaard’s dominant start
The statistics for Noah Syndergaard are getting truly ridiculous. On Monday, the Mets’ flamethrowing righty dominated the hapless Phillies, holding them to one run in seven innings to lead New York to a 5–1 win in Philadelphia. Amazing as it is, Monday’s start actually raised Syndergaard’s ERA, taking it all the way from 0.69 to 0.90. An ERA that microscopic won’t last, but the other numbers from the 23-year-old’s outing are just as eye-popping. Let’s quickly run through some of the more stunning stats from his latest start and his season as a whole.
Syndergaard’s average sinker velocity on Monday was 100.1 mph
That’s according to the fine folks who run Brooks Baseball, whose data also shows that Syndergaard’s sinker topped out at a ridiculous 102.3 mph. MLB’s Statcast leaderboard was far more sensible: It has Syndergaard maxing out at a mere 101.3 with his sinker on the night—something he did twice. Syndergaard now has the fastest recorded pitch in baseball this season, beating out Pirates reliever Arquimedes Caminero, who hit 101.1 mph on April 10.
Syndergaard reached or broke 100 mph 12 times on Monday night
Eleven of those 12 triple-digit pitches were four-seam fastballs, with several clocking in at a perceived speed of 101.9 mph. Of the 22 recorded 100 mph-plus pitches in baseball this year, 15 belong to Syndergaard; Caminero is the runner-up, with four, and the Yankees’ Nathan Eovaldi is the only other starter on the list, with two.
Syndergaard’s slider averaged 93 mph
According to Baseball Savant’s data, just two other pitchers this year have thrown even a single slider as hard as 93 mph this season: Caminero and Rockies starter Jordan Lyles. Syndergaard’s seasonal average of 92 mph, meanwhile, is No. 1 among starters, with Eovaldi a distant second at 89.9 mph. On Monday, Syndergaard threw 20 sliders, topping out at 95.4 mph with the pitch. The results? Fifteen strikes, 14 swings and seven swings-and-misses. On the season, opposing hitters have seen 65 sliders from Syndergaard and swung and missed at 25 of them, or 38%—a drop from the 40% he was at before Monday’s start.
Syndergaard’s changeup averaged 91.7 mph
That off-speed pitch has a higher average velocity than the fastballs of 51 qualified starters in baseball this year, including David Price (91.4), Zack Greinke (91.2), Madison Bumgarner (90.4), Felix Hernandez (89.9) and Dallas Keuchel (88.4). Also worth noting: Syndergaard’s max changeup velocity (93.9) is faster than the average four-seam fastball of all but 14 other pitchers this year.
Syndergaard’s curveball is faster than Jered Weaver’s fastball
His slowest pitch by far, Syndergaard averaged 84.1 mph with his curveball on Monday. That’s just about three miles per hour faster than Weaver’s four-seam fastball, and just three miles per hour shy of Chris Young’s average fastball.
Syndergaard has faced 77 batters this year and given up four extra-base hits
Against the Phillies, Syndergaard allowed just one hit longer than a single, when Freddy Galvis doubled to center in the third inning. All told this year, Syndergaard has given up just three doubles and a triple, and he’s yet to allow a home run in his 20 innings of work. That adds up to an opposing slugging percentage of .274.
Syndergaard has struck out 38% of all batters he’s faced this year
That’s third best among all starters so far this season, behind the Phillies’ Vincent Velasquez (46.3%) and the Marlins’ Jose Fernandez (39%). Last year, Clayton Kershaw was tops in baseball with 33.8% in a year in which he struck out 300 men; Chris Sale was just behind him at 32.1%. Syndergaard’s strikeout-per-nine ratio of 13.05, meanwhile, is fifth in the majors, behind Velasquez, Fernandez, Chris Archer and Price—and that number went down after Monday’s effort, in which he whiffed eight batters.
Add all of those strikeouts and heaters up, and you get a pitcher who’s reduced opposing hitters to a collective .521 OPS through three games, given up just two earned runs in 20 innings and struck out 29 batters. The next trick for the burly Texan will be to get and stay deeper into games. Last season, he threw seven or more innings in a game just 10 times in 24 starts. He’s two for three this year in terms of reaching the seventh inning; if he can make that a habit, he’ll become that much more terrifying to the poor hitters who have to step in against him.