Noah Syndergaard reportedly upset with Mets over catching situation; what the numbers say about his battery mates
Syndergaard has pitched better to non-Ramos backstops, but is that enough to give him a personal catcher?
New York Mets right-hander Noah Syndergaard is reportedly upset with the team's management. Syndergaard, who has been an at-times vocal critic of the organization, is peeved this go around because the Mets refuse to abide by his request to work with catchers other than Wilson Ramos. According to Joel Sherman and Kevin Kernan of the New York Post, Syndergaard pleaded his case to pitching strategist Jeremy Accardo, manager Mickey Callaway, and general manager Brodie Van Wagenen to no avail. Here's more from the Post::
"I wouldn't call it an incident," Van Wagenen said before the Mets faced the Diamondbacks on Monday night at Citi Field. "Noah and I met, we've had ongoing dialogue with many of our players over the course of the season. Specifically with Noah, we had dialogue going back to earlier in the season where we had opportunity to hear his thoughts and we were able to share information with him about what is in the best interest of the team and what gives us the best chance to win."
Syndergaard, for his part, was also unhappy that his conversations were made public:
Per Sherman and Kernan, Syndergaard prefers pitching to the Mets' non-Ramos catchers due to their game-calling and ability to frame the lower portion of the strike zone. While pitcher-catcher splits are prone to small-sample issues, the numbers do support that Syndergaard has pitched better this season when someone else is behind the plate:
Those numbers don't necessarily hold predictive value. After all, it's possible Syndergaard had Tomas Nido behind the plate for games against weaker opponents, or that one or two bad starts are skewing the numbers with Ramos. Even so, it's worth highlighting the differences in Syndergaard's overall pitch selection between when he's caught by Ramos and someone else (data compiled from Brooks Baseball):
Some slight differences -- more four-seamers, more sliders, fewer changeups and curves -- and who knows about the actual sequencing involved … but probably not the drastic change you'd suspect based on Syndergaard's urging.
Syndergaard does have a point. According to Statcast, Ramos is the worst among qualified catchers at presenting the bottom of the zone, with just a third of his pitches being called strikes. For comparison, Nido has had 47 percent of his pitches caught at the bottom of the zone called strikes. (Seattle Mariners backstop Tom Murphy is the absolute best at getting those low strikes, with more than 65 percent of low pitches being called such.)
Of course the Mets can rightly point to Ramos's offensive production for justification on why they continue to start him on Syndergaard's day to pitch. Ramos has a 114 OPS+ on the season, whereas Nido has a 46 OPS+ that ranks him last among New York's hitters with more than 100 trips to the plate. That's a difficult disparity to stomach.
Yet, as Sherman and Kernan note, the Mets did grant Jacob deGrom's request for a personal catcher last season after his representation pushed for it. deGrom's agent at the time was -- you know it -- current Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen, who also advised Syndergaard. The whole thing is messier than it appears, which highlights the inherent conflict of interests at play whenever an agent becomes a high-ranking executive.
On the bright side, for Syndergaard anyway, the Mets are reportedly likely to reengage on trade talks surrounding him this offseason. May he find peace and understanding -- or, at least, a catcher who can stick the low pitches.
CBS Sports HQ Daily Newsletter
Get the best highlights and stories - yeah, just the good stuff handpicked by our team to start your day.
Thanks for signing up!
Keep an eye on your inbox for the latest sports news.
There was an error processing your subscription.
A look at who's in and who's out as we near October baseball
It's now or never for some playoff hopefuls as the season starts to wind down and the hunt...
Here is everything you need to know about the day in baseball
Here's our regularly updated look at baseball's biggest injuries
The umpires ruled that Culberson offered at the pitch from Fernando Rodney, and Brian Snitker...
Here's what you need to know from the last seven days of MLB action