Have Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler Set a Bad Example for Noah Syndergaard?

Have Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler Set a Bad Example for Noah Syndergaard?

New York Mets RHP Noah Syndegaard has earned high praise from his organization and scouts alike. The 22-year-old was ranked the 11th-best prospect in the game prior to 2014 by MLB.com, and fans considered him a lock to be a midseason call-up akin to RHP Matt Harvey and LHP Zack Wheeler in year’s past.

Unlike Harvey and Wheeler, Syndergaard’s early struggles in Las Vegas appeared more serious. Serious enough, in fact, that the organization did not consider him as a viable September call-up despite the phenom being under his innings limit. Many are quick to point to Vegas’ hitter-friendly environment as a factor contributing to his poor performance, but successful pitchers will adapt to their environment and learn to be successful in spite of hinderances.

Many look at Syndergaard’s performance and relate it to reports of Harvey and Wheeler being “bored” in Vegas. It is a dangerous organizational philosophy to accept a lack of performance from prospects because of their potential belief they should be playing at a higher level. The best way to show one can play at a higher level is to dominate one’s current level. Wheeler pointing out he was asleep at the wheel in the minor leagues before experiencing big league success sets a dangerous precedent- one Syndergaard should not follow. Motivation should be driven from the will to dominate and succeed, and Wheeler did not display those qualities during his Vegas tenure.

Can Syndergaard become a success? Absolutely. His talent is not the issue- but reportedly both execution and maturity stand in his way. Both will develop will with experience, but it is far too early to consider him a lock in the 2015 rotation- in April, July, or any concrete time.

Has Syndergaard shown enough to be considered a candidate to start with Mets in 2015? Have the precedents set by Harvey and Wheeler set a bad example?

Photo Credit: Michael Baron

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