Noah Syndergaard has become a true leader in the Met clubhouse and that is a universal thought among the players on the Met roster. For such a young man that is no small feat in the sports media capital of the word but this guy has the “It Factor” Big apple fans love and being around him merely supports that notion.
I ran into Jose Reyes at Mets Holiday Party and as many of you know, I’ve known Reyes from the first day he appeared in the Met clubhouse. The switch-hitting dynamo raves about Syndergaard. “He is so talented but beyond that is a great person-we connected right away-he’s a true winner,” said Reyes. When you see him walk around the clubhouse, you could understand why Reyes bonded with him so quickly as he spends time with players in that room.
The other thing that impresses you about Noah is he is NEVER afraid of ANYTHING and we saw that vividly in his 2015 post-season effort when he strode into uncharted waters giving the Mets a series win over the Dodgers by pitching spotless in relief. Met pitching coach Dan Warthen often tells me that not only is he eminently coachable but he tries to learn so much about the game talking to other pitchers extracting knowledge and loves developing a game plan to attack the best hitters in the lineup that he is facing on that day. Last year was a season in which the team had to contend with so many injuries and like a great leader Noah had 2 reactions to that. He showed empathy for the players that were injured because he genuinely loves his teammates and at the same time, never used it as an excuse for the plight of the team. That is the very definition of leadership. And he was a huge reason the Mets earned a playoff spot cementing his place as one of the dominant pitchers in this sport.
I asked him last year if he thought he was the ace of the staff and he gave me a response you’d expect from a grizzled veteran. He said, “On this team, whoever is starting on that day is the ace. That’s how good this rotation is.” He knew if he said yes it would be plastered on the back pages but if he said no some would question his confidence. He solved it by giving the proper response. In today’s Twitter world, that’s the way you do it.
Despite pitching great in the team’s one-game playoff loss to the Giants, all he could do in the post-game session was talk about the great catch Granderson made in the game or how despite Familia’s ninth inning, how the team would NEVER be here without him. Again the words of a classic sports leader.
To me Noah Syndergaard has every chance to be the face of this franchise in the coming years because he has moved from talented hurler to clubhouse leader as quickly as I have seen any young pitcher do it in recent years.