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Syndergaard Gets The Call from Mets; Can Matz be Far Behind?

The Mets have called up top pitching prospect Noah Syndergaard.

Noah Syndergaard (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Noah Syndergaard (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)


While the Mets have been in first place since the second week of the season, a news item that may have been lost in the shuffle is the performance of the Mets’ Triple-A affiliate in Las Vegas, which recently reeled off a 14-game winning streak of its own, topping even the parent club’s 10-game winning streak in April.

While the Las Vegas 51s have been hitting up and down the lineup, two primary reasons for their early success have been pitchers Noah Syndergaard and Stephen Matz.

Syndergaard, who had a disappointing 2014 season and never made it to the big club, has in 2015 started to consistently show the form that has earned him status as one of the organization’s top three prospects. The 6-foot-6, 240-pound right-hander is 3-0 with a 1.82 ERA in five Triple-A starts this season. Syndergaard has struck out 34 batters and walked eight in 29 2/3 innings. Those figures are a huge step forward after his 9-7 record with a 4.60 ERA last season at Las Vegas.

Syndergaard will make his major league debut against the Cubs in Wrigley Field on Tuesday night.

Meanwhile, Matz, a 23-year-old left-hander, has been outpitching even Syndergaard, if that’s possible. In seven appearances, Matz is 4-1 with a 1.70 ERA, striking out 45 in 42 innings with a .208 batting average against. Matz has yet to allow a home run, a particularly impressive feat in the offensively skewed Pacific Coast League. The only blip at all on Matz’ resume so far this season is his total of 17 walks.

Syndergaard is replacing Dillon Gee in the Mets’ rotation while Gee recovers from what sounds like a fairly mild groin strain. Whether Gee, who was pitching adequately but not exceptionally (3.86 ERA), ever gets back in the Mets’ rotation now is going to partially hinge on Syndergaard’s performance. Should the big rookie turn in a few lights-out performances, it would be tough for the Mets, who are supposedly all in on contending this year, to justify sending him back down.

At this time last season, Jacob deGrom came up to the major leagues for what seemed like a temporary stay. But deGrom forced his way into the big league rotation permanently and ended up as the National League Rookie of the Year.

The next question is how the Mets could possibly shoehorn Matz into their major league rotation if he continues to dominate the PCL. Would trading Jon Niese, while he is pitching well, for a top-flight shortstop be an outlandish idea?

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