For a brief moment, as Noah Syndergaard took the mound on Monday for his first Grapefruit League game, his focus was interrupted. He heard Mets fans cheering for him, calling his name, yelling out his nickname: “Thor! Thor!” They would finally see Syndergaard face major league hitters, from the Atlanta Braves. They could dream about Syndergaard, Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler, three big-power arms, atop the rotation. This was, in a way, Syndergaard’s debut. Terry Collins, the manager, called it “a big test.” Syndergaard pitched two scoreless innings in the Mets’ 6-2 victory, striking out Jason Heyward and Evan Gattis. He allowed only one single, to Ryan Doumit, and issued no walks. His fastball touched 98 miles per hour, though his curve and changeup seemed off. He was not perfect, but he was brilliant at times. “Right now,” Collins said, “he’s on track to be special.” At the start, Syndergaard’s first four pitches to Heyward were fastballs: 95 m.p.h., 96, 97 and 97. Syndergaard missed with his changeup and then his fastball, running the count full. Then he fired a 98-m.p.h. heater that Heyward could only flail at. With that, Syndergaard felt a weight come off his shoulders. He tossed two more fastballs to B. J. Upton, who meekly popped out to first, and then he threw two curves to Justin Upton, both of which missed the zone. But he followed up with a 96-m.p.h. fastball that Upton lifted weakly for an easy out.
Noah Syndergaard, Mets’ Prized Prospect, Passes ‘Big Test’
New York Times | Mar 4