The LA Angels signed Noah Syndergaard to a $21 million deal in the offseason, and he certainly does look like a $21 million pitcher so far this season. Syndergaard takes the mound on Friday against the Chicago White Sox, and Angel fans seem to have full confidence in Thor to get the job done.
There's a reason why, too. Syndergaard looks like the Syndergaard of old. The Syndergaard that the Angels planned on when they signed him. The Syndergaard that was an ace.
In Thor's first four years in this league, he was most certainly an ace. He sported a 2.93 ERA, 2.66 FIP, and 132 ERA+. He always thrived under pressure; going 2-1 with a 2.42 ERA in five postseason games (four starts). In 2019, however, he struggled. Recording a 4.28 ERA, he wasn't the pitcher baseball fans were accustomed to.
Suffering a UCL injury was the worst way to follow up that season, however, and that's what happened. It kept Syndergaard from pitching in the next two seasons. He pitched just two innings in those two years. In his first three starts of this season, however, he looks like he's progressed to the mean.
Noah Syndergaard has been the second-best starting pitcher on the LA Angels this year.
The only starting pitcher on the LA Angels who has so far been better than Noah Syndergaard is Patrick Sandoval. Syndergaard has been dominating this season, posting a 2-0 record with a 2.12 ERA and 180 ERA+. Thor has yet to give up a single home run on the year.
Only walking 2.1 batters per nine innings, this is the Syndergaard baseball fans were accustomed to. While he hasn't struck many guys out yet, his 0.824 WHIP gives no reason to pay that any attention. It doesn't matter how he gets guys out if he is indeed getting them out.
Nobody's getting on, and nobody's scoring. He's allowed just four runs all year. The Halos' move to be aggressive for this season and sign Syndergaard to a high-paying short-term deal has absolutely paid off so far, and hopefully will continue to on Friday and throughout the rest of the season.