As amazing as 2014 Rookie of the Year winner Jacob deGrom was for the Mets last season, teammate Noah Syndergaard is trending toward an even better rookie campaign.
Through his first 15 big-league starts, Syndergaard is 6-5 with a 2.66 ERA and 100 strikeouts compared with just 20 walks in 942/3 innings. DeGrom’s numbers through his first 15 career starts are strikingly similar, as he also owned a 6-5 record combined with a 2.77 ERA and 90 strikeouts opposed to 32 walks in 92 innings.
Coincidently, both righthanders made their 15th starts on Aug. 2 of their respective rookie seasons. While deGrom was representing one of the lone bright spots on a fourth-place Mets team on Aug. 2, 2014, Syndergaard took the mound for what may have been Citi Field’s most meaningful game in its six-year history.
The 22-year-old responded with eight superb innings Sunday night against the Nationals to complete the series sweep and send the Mets into a virtual first-place tie atop the NL East.
The big-time performance fueled the Flushing faithful into an electric frenzy that’s been missing since the club’s last winning season in 2008 — the final year at Shea Stadium.
Syndergaard’s past seven starts have been nothing short of incredible, going 5-1 with a 1.26 ERA in 50 innings. The ridiculous stretch surely vaults him into the NL Rookie of the Year conversation, but he faces stiffer competition than deGrom did, who took home the honor after finishing 9-6 with a 2.69 ERA in 1401/3 innings last season.
Cubs rookie third baseman Kris Bryant (.246/.354/.436, 14 HR, 61 RBIs) and Dodgers centerfielder Joc Pederson (.223/.345/.454, 21 HR, 43 RBIs) appear to be the two biggest threats to Syndergaard’s award chances.
If the man they call Thor continues his recent streak of dominance, Syndergaard and deGrom will have a real shot at becoming the first pair of Mets teammates to win back-to-back NL Rookie of the Year awards since Darryl Strawberry (1983) and Dwight Gooden (1984).