HOF-bound pitcher praises talent of deGrom, Harvey, Syndergaard, Matz
By Joey Nowak
Some high praise for the Mets' young arms recently came from a serious authority on the matter.
Soon-to-be Hall of Fame inductee John Smoltz said that the Mets' young corps of starting pitchers (Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz) is "way better" than the stellar Braves rotation that Smoltz pitched on in the early-to-mid '90s.
Considering that elite rotation featured three now-Hall of Famers (Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, in addition to Smoltz), that's high praise.
"They're way better," Smoltz said. "They've got more talent than we could ever have."
deGrom, at 27, is the oldest of the Mets foursome and already has a National League Rookie of the Year Award and an NL All-Star selection under his belt. Harvey, 26, has an All-Star appearance. Matz, 24, and Syndergaard, 22, made their highly anticipated Major League debuts this season.
But that's a long way from the seven Cy Young Awards that Smoltz, Glavine and Maddux combined for in their illustrious careers, and Smoltz wonders if the New York pitchers' talent will take them to same heights the Braves' rotation reached.
"The opportunities that exist today won't allow a lot of staffs to find out what kind of staff they can be," Smoltz said. "That's the shame of the game. The injuries have taken over. The inability to learn how to pitch [and] fast-tracking a lot of kids. There's no doubt that the dynamic arms are way better than we've ever seen. And the issue is how long can we keep them healthy and how long can they stick together financially? What we did in the era that we did, we take a lot of pride in it. We worked really hard and we didn't miss a lot of starts.
"We've anointed people a little too quickly in this game. And they don't have the ability to wait and learn and have a fair shake at the game. ... Everybody wants quick results, expectations through the roof. And that's what these guys are fighting today. They're not giving them a chance to fail too often. And when they do, what happens?"
Joey Nowak is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joeynowak. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.