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Age: 23 (Feb. 10, 1989)
Height/Weight: 6-2, 195
Baseball people long have been bullish on d'Arnaud's future. He has yet to play in a single big-league game. But twice in his career, he has been traded for Cy Young Award winners, first to the Blue Jays for Roy Halladay in 2009, and now to the Mets for R.A. Dickey. A native of Southern California, he grew up a Dodgers fan, idolizing former Mets great Mike Piazza.
2012 A knee injury ended his season prematurely, the third straight season he's been banged up. But before the injury, d'Arnaud hit .333 with a .380 on-base percentage and .595 slugging with 16 homers and 52 RBIs in 67 games. Playing his home games at hitter-friendly Triple-A Las Vegas surely helped, though his home/road splits showed no major difference in production.
THE SKINNY A longtime talent evaluator raved about d'Arnaud's all-around game. He's equally adept at the plate and behind it, a product of his strong athleticism. He had been considered a likely candidate to debut with the Blue Jays before suffering last season's knee injury. "All-star talent," said the scout, who believes d'Arnaud's strong makeup and mental toughness eventually will help him make a smooth transition to the major leagues.
LOOKING FORWARD D'Arnaud could begin with the big-league club, though the Mets may first use newly acquired John Buck as a placeholder to start the year. In either case, d'Arnaud is considered big league-ready. Even if he falls short of his ceiling as a potential middle-of-the-order bat, his defense makes him a solid bet to thrive as a solid everyday catcher. With d'Arnaud, the Mets have secured their starting catcher for years to come, no small feat at a time when good catching help around the game is scarce.
Age: 20 (Aug. 29, 1992)
Height/Weight: 6-5, 200
BACKGROUND Selected by the Blue Jays in the first round, 38th overall, in the 2010 draft out of Legacy High School in Mansfield, Texas. High school teammates and opponents used to call his fastball "The Eliminator."
2012 In his first full pro season, Syndergaard went 8-5 with a 2.60 ERA for Class-A Lansing. He struck out 122 batters and walked 31. He worked 1032/3 innings as the Blue Jays put him on a strict innings cap. He allowed only three homers all season.
THE SKINNY: Syndergaard's arm strength stands out, the talent evaluator said, especially when combined with his sound mechanics. The righty features a 94- to 97-mph fastball with a heavy boring action, a power curveball and a straight changeup -- with "advanced feel" for all three. He's a projected front-of-the-rotation starter.
LOOKING FORWARD With his raw talent, Syndergaard eventually could form an imposing trio of high-end arms, joining fellow prospect Zack Wheeler and righty Matt Harvey. He has yet to pitch above A-ball and must progress toward handling a big-league workload. The 2015 season may be his most likely arrival date.