The LA Angels desperately need starting pitching more than anything this year, and finally made it happen.
They’ve signed the tremendously high-risk, but tremendously high-reward Noah Syndergard to a 1 yr/$21 million deal according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan.
Passan’s right. Syndergaard has the most upside on the market. Even the all-time great names in this free agent class (Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, Zack Greinke, Clayton Kershaw) don’t even have the upside Thor has due to them getting up there in age.
Syndergaard’s still under 30 years old, and has proven that he has what it takes to put out elite production in this league.
Noah Syndergaard immediately gives the LA Angels ridiculous upside when healthy.
The LA Angels are looking for 2016 Noah Syndergaard. His numbers said it all:
14-9 W-L record, 2.60 ERA, 2.29 FIP, 1.149 WHIP, 2.1 BB/9, 10.7 K/9, 0.5 HR/9, 155 ERA+
The best part about that year was that he was just getting started. It was only his second year in the league, and he was oozing with even more potential.
Falling to injury the next year, he bounced back with a strong 2018, and always pitched at an elite level whenever he was on the mound up through that 2018 year. 2019 was a rough season for Syndergaard, and he showed what his floor is. His floor, however, could be much worse, as his stats from that year indicate:
10-8 W-L record, 4.28 ERA, 3.60 FIP, 1.234 WHIP, 2.3 BB/9, 9.2 K/9, 1.1 HR/9, 96 ERA+
Now, the Angels can’t have that level of production for $21 million, but many teams are enamored with the upside that he definitely does have. Here’s what FanSided national baseball insider and columnist, Robert Murray, had to say about Syndergaard:
"“Here’s what a few teams have told me: They love Syndergaard, and believe he can be an ace-level pitcher now that he’s a year removed from Tommy John. It’ll only be a one-year deal, so no risk, and if he pitches well, they have inside track to re-sign him.”"
It all makes sense, and it being on a one-year deal is certainly less risky than it could be for a guy who has only pitched two innings in two years due to injury. Those two innings were obviously pitched at the end of this season, of course, so he’s obviously already come back from his injury.
Murray did add that “2 innings in 2 years is scary,” and that’s very fair.
Teams were willing to bet on him due to him being a year removed from TJ surgery, as Murray said, and as long as he stays healthy, he’s likely to produce at a high level for the Halos.
Even with a disappointing 2019, Syndergaard owns a special lifetime stat line:
47-31 W-L record, 3.32 ERA, 2.93 FIP, 1.162 WHIP, 2.1 BB/9, 9.7 K/9, 0.8 HR/9, 119 ERA+
If he can be that pitcher, this deal is worth it. Let’s also not forget just how dominant he is in the postseason. In five games (four starts) in the postseason, Syndergaard is incredible:
2-1 W-L record, 2.42 ERA, 3.8 BB/9, 12.5 K/9, 0 HR allowed
It’s easy to see the upside here. Now Syndergaard needs to stay healthy and earn this contract.