Sunday, July 14, 2013
Mets 'Futures' face each other
By Mike Mazzeo
NEW YORK -- Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero may be teammates someday.
But on Sunday, the New York Mets' highly-touted pitching prospects face one another in the Futures Game at Citi Field.
Syndergaard starts for the U.S. Team, while Montero gets the ball for the World Team.
“I’m just happy to be playing here, it doesn’t matter who I’m facing,” Montero said through a translator.
Syndergaard, 20, acquired in the R.A. Dickey trade, is 2-0 with a 1.35 ERA in four starts since his promotion to Double-A Binghamton. Montero, 22, is 1-2 with a 4.36 ERA in seven starts since his promotion to Triple-A Las Vegas.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” Syndergaard said. “I’m just so excited to be here, starting in the Futures Game in a ballpark that will hopefully be my home one day pretty soon.”
“This is definitely a step closer to being in the big leagues,” Montero said. “I couldn’t be happier.”
While Montero has been to New York City before, this is Syndergaard’s first time. Syndergaard has visited Times Square, Foley’s Bar across from the Empire State Building and the MLB Fan Cave. He’s also had several steak dinners, too.
“This city has been so welcoming, and I can’t wait to start my professional career,” Syndergaard said. “I was thinking the other night it feels like a dream. Being in Times Square is awesome.”
Syndergaard is happy with the way his season has gone thus far.
“My curveball is developing better and better each and every day, and I’m just repeating my delivery and my fastball command has been better,” Syndergaard said. “There’s quite a bit of difference between Florida State [League] hitters and Double-A hitters. You can’t really make mistakes, because they’ll capitalize on those.”
Syndergaard is looking to follow in the footsteps of fellow phenoms Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler.
“I keep up with [how they’re doing in the big leagues]. I’m looking forward to being part of that group of people. To be mentioned in the same sentence with them is unbelievable.
“Wheeler’s exceeding expectations tremendously, and I really admire Harvey on the mound, his bulldog mentality, the way it looks out there is kind of scary.”
Special assistant GM J.P. Ricciardi projects Montero, who has a fastball clocked between 93-94 mph, will be a solid No. 4 starter in the majors. Syndergaard, who has a heater that ranges between 96-98 mph, needs to work on his offspeed pitches before he gets to the big leagues, Ricciardi said.