MLB.com Columnist

Jim Callis

Syndergaard's upside high, hard to match

Syndergaard's upside high, hard to match

Noah Syndergaard's 2015 season got off to an inauspicious start. He came down with forearm stiffness in Spring Training, which pushed back his first start at the Mets' Triple-A club in Las Vegas. After scuffling in his first two outings, Syndergaard had his third delayed when he came down with food poisoning.

But the right-hander has looked like one of the best pitching prospects in baseball ever since, which makes sense, because Syndergaard is one of the best. He has allowed just two runs while striking out 27 in his last 22 innings, and now his year is about to get even better. With Dillon Gee going on the disabled list with a groin strain, the Mets will recall Syndergaard and start him Tuesday against the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

Ranked No. 11 on MLBPipeline.com's Top 100 Prospects list, the 22-year-old Syndergaard combines stuff and polish like few pitchers can. He usually operates at 92-95 mph with his fastball, which he can run up to 98 and commands well. Syndergaard can add and subtract from his curveball, which gives him a second plus pitch, and he has feel for a solid changeup as well.

Syndergaard repeats his delivery very well for a pitcher his size -- he's 6-foot-6 and 240 pounds -- which allows him to throw strikes with ease. His height also allows him to deliver his offerings on a steep downward plane and to pound the bottom of the zone, generating plenty of ground balls and swings-and-misses.

It's unclear how many starts Syndergaard will get before Gee is ready to return, but there's no question that he has a much higher ceiling. He has more upside than any pitcher in the Mets' rotation except for Matt Harvey, and he's not too far behind Harvey and he's more advanced at the same stage of their careers.

The 38th overall pick in the 2010 Draft out of Legacy High (Mansfield, Texas), Syndergaard signed with the Blue Jays for $600,000. He joined the Mets in the December 2012 R.A. Dickey trade that also brought Travis d'Arnaud, John Buck and outfield prospect Wuilmer Becerra to New York.

Syndergaard ranked as the top pitching prospect in the Class A Advanced Florida State League and the Double-A Eastern League in his first season in the Mets' system, then topped the Triple-A Pacific Coast League with 145 strikeouts in his second. He has gone 3-0 with a 1.82 ERA and 34/8 K/BB ratio in 29 2/3 innings over five starts at Las Vegas this year.

Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com and writes a blog, Callis' Corner. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.