MIAMI - In his first start since a bout of food poisoning, the Mets' Noah Syndergaard flashed the potential that has made him one of the game's top pitching prospects.
But one talent evaluator said the righty also revealed at least one area that needs improvement. "Syndergaard probably threw the best game of his career," said the scout, who watched the prospect's virtuoso performance Monday.
Pitching in the first game of a doubleheader for Triple-A Las Vegas, Syndergaard tossed a two-hit shutout against Albuquerque. In seven innings (a complete game), he struck out nine and issued no walks.
Physically, he looked dominant. His fastball topped out at 98 mph, according to a scout, and it consistently sat at 97. But despite the blazing fastball, the scout said hitters had comfortable at-bats against Syndergaard. "He doesn't brush anybody back," the evaluator said. "He's got to learn to move the ball around. They're just going up there and taking their rips."
Syndergaard, 22, is 1-0 with a 2.45 ERA in his first three starts with Triple-A Las Vegas. He and fellow pitching prospect Steven Matz could soon find themselves on the brink of a call-up.
The Mets intend to use occasional spot starters to buy an extra day's rest for Matt Harvey and the rest of the starting pitchers. Terry Collins said Syndergaard and Matz should wind up as spot-starting options later this season. "It will be up to them," Collins said. "But yes, they will certainly be considered."
With two days off scheduled next week, Collins said he might skip one of the Mets' starters in the rotation. But that starter won't be Harvey . . . Daniel Murphy had his first three-hit game of the season, upping his average from .174 to .205.