Noah Syndergaard represented the Mets in the Futures Game at Citi Field in July.Noah Syndergaard likely will not get as many innings in the season he makes his major league debut as Zack Wheeler did in 2013 or Matt Harvey did in 2012.
Even if you include Syndergaard's Double-A playoff outing and his Futures Game appearance, Syndergaard tallied only 124 2/3 innings last season, which is considerably fewer than either Wheeler or Harvey threw in the seasons before they debuted.
In fact, Wheeler threw 149 regular-season innings in 2012 -- nearly 25 more innings than Syndergaard did in the equivalent season.
Harvey threw 135 2/3 innings in the 2011 regular season, the year before he debuted -- 10 more than Syndergaard's total even with the Futures Game.
And, you may recall, the Mets shut down Harvey after a Sept. 19 appearance once he reached the majors, at 169 1/3 innings for that season. Wheeler logged 168 2/3 innings last season.
Typically, young pitchers are only allowed a jump of 30 to 35 innings over the previous season, which means Syndergaard probably has no more than 160 innings this year. Slight adjustments are made to account for the number of pitchers the player is throwing per inning, so if Syndergaard is efficient, perhaps he can eke out a couple of more innings.
Mets VP Paul DePodesta nonetheless said there are creative things the Mets can do to have Syndergaard still pitching in late September.
The Mets will not delay the start to Syndergaard's season in order to ensure he has enough innings in the tank late, according to DePodesta. But the Mets may be receptive to introducing Syndergaard to the majors in relief, the VP added, even though that is not something team brass has done with other prospects in their first three years presiding in Flushing. That's a way the St. Louis Cardinals have been very successful in utilizing rookie pitchers, including with Michael Wacha this past August.
The Mets capped Syndergaard's late-season starts in the mid-50-pitch range and had him skip a pair of August starts last season with Binghamton in order to keep him available for the B-Mets' playoff series.
Syndergaard, it should be noted, does have a large, strong frame that should lend toward durability. He stands 6-foot-6, 240 pounds.
"We're in the process of planning everyone's schedule, Noah included," DePodesta said. "Each guy is different, and the two you mentioned [Wheeler and Harvey] had different paths to the major leagues, even though both resulted in a midseason call-up. Noah's path will also be different, even if there are similarities. Further, while we will create a plan for him before the season begins, the plan will inevitably change as the season progresses."