After signing a one-year, $13 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Noah Syndergaard quickly made it known how valuable he believes he can be to the club.
And it might just come down to his fastball.
At age 30, Syndergaard eyes 2023 as not just his second full-season back from Tommy John surgery, but a chance to positively contribute while returning to form as a fireball hurling right-hander that notoriety when he first broke into the league in 2015 with the New York Mets.
After posting a 10-10 record with a 3.94 ERA across 24 starts and 134.2 innings with the Los Angeles Angels and Philadelphia Phillies last season, Syndergaard looks to enter 2023 with an ability to increase velocity on his fastball by reverting back to prior training methods.
“The old me, the velocity is one thing. But coming back from Tommy John, about month 13 or 14, I was throwing 97-98 (mph) in bullpens and then I had a little setback. I’m not really sure if my body went into fight or flight to protect itself kind of thing, or if it was I felt like I had been throwing for the last three years,” Syndergaard explained.
“With the rehab, over the last three years, I might’ve only had three or four total months off, so that might have been a factor into the velocity dip. I started going down a movement and pitching mechanics rabbit hole, and was getting away from what made me great. When I had surgery, everyone was always telling me that I was too big, too bulky, too strong.
“So instead of continuing to do what made me really good and just chalking it up to Tommy John surgery that a lot of pitchers and baseball players go through, I completely did an overhaul of my training program. My emphasis in the weight room was a lot of mobility, athleticism, and kind of shifted away from the strength and explosiveness.
“This last year, the results were pretty good, but there were a lot of starts where I was kind of fighting myself and not having a lot of confidence in my delivery. It was hard to fix that during the season.”
Syndergaard quickly began an offseason throwing program, doing so at Tread Athletics in Charlotte and Driveline in Arizona.
“Got a really good plan for the offseason, so when I get to Spring Training, I’m ready to hit the ground running,” he said.
For Syndergaard, who looks to find success similar to that of Tyler Anderson and Andrew Heaney after both signed one-year deals with L.A., one change is also not having much holdover from this past season.
“Whatever I was doing last year was not the best version of me,” he said. “I see no excuse as to why I can’t get back to 100 miles an hour, and even farther than that. It just doesn’t make any sense. I don’t think there’s a baseball player in MLB that does what I do when it comes to the recovery and training and attention to detail.”
Noah Syndergaard wearing No. 43 with Dodgers
After wearing No. 34 for most of his Major League career, Syndergaard shared that he plans on “going with 43” instead of donning the famed number of Dodgers legend Fernando Valenzuela that remains unofficially retired by the organization.
Syndergaard most recently wore No. 43 with the Phillies after being traded there at last July’s deadline, unable to take No. 34 due to the number belonging to the late-great Roy Halladay whose number was officially retired in 2021.
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