Thor knows it’s on again for the Mets in the NL East with the Nationals and the rest of the division.
“I think it’s going to be an awesome year, a lot of fun competing against other guys in our division,’’ Noah Syndergaard told the Post. “I’m pretty confident we’ll come out on top.’’
That statement alone tells you Syndergaard is back, mentally and physically, after suffering through a 2017 that saw the big right-hander pitch only 30 1/3 innings because of a lat injury as the Mets finished in fourth place at 70-92.
His direct message to the Mets fans is much like his explosive fastball.
“Just come out there and support us come March 29th and the entire year,’’ Syndergaard said. “We’re all excited to get out there, I can’t wait to get to spring training, 2018 is going to be our year.’’
The Mets last won the division in 2015.
A new manager with a pitching, playoff-tested background in Mickey Callaway, a new pitching coach in Dave Eiland, who was the pitching coach for the Royals in 2015 when they beat the Mets in the World Series, and Syndergaard back healthy has Thor feeling strong about his team. He is planning to arrive early for spring training.
“I’m really pumped up for it, I’ve heard a lot of good things,’’ Syndergaard said of Callaway. “I had the opportunity to have dinner with Mickey at the winter meetings and he seems like a really nice guy, really knowledgeable. I’m very excited just because having a manager with a pitching background as well as a pitching coach, it’s just another weapon in our arsenal. Another way we can learn something.’’
Add the return of free agent right-fielder Jay Bruce to a three-year, $39 million contract and the belief that more moves are on the horizon for the Mets.
“I’m glad to have him back,’’ Syndergaard said of Bruce. “I think that’s a great addition to our lineup and the overall clubhouse atmosphere. The moment he stepped into the clubhouse in 2016 he immediately meshed with the rest of the guys and improved the morale of the clubhouse.’’
Last week Syndergaard posted a photo with a yellow and white snake, a creature known for its incredible strength. The 6-foot-6 Syndergaard has changed his workout routine, putting more emphasis on flexibility and explosiveness while still maintaining strength.
“Maybe there’s some symbolism right there,’’ Syndergaard said when I mentioned that photo and the way he has molded his body this offseason.
That picture was taken at Reds prospect Hunter Greene’s leadership camp and community festival in Southern California, a wonderful cause that benefits the Inglewood Baseball Fund.
“His camp was pretty awesome,’’ Syndergaard said. “He had a Nintendo game truck, a reptile petting zoo type thing, it was fun.’’
As for his workouts, Syndergaard said, “I’ve been working on overall athleticism, trying to be explosive, and just be as reactive as possible. Workouts are very tough, challenging, I still like lifting heavy but lifting heavy the right way. It feels good doing the right kind of program.’’
Syndergaard works with certified strength and conditioning specialists Eric Cressey and Shane Rye. When in New York, he works out at Soho Strength Lab with Ryan Hopkins.
Syndergaard is throwing from 120-130 feet, “getting a good base going,’’ he said.
“My arm feels amazing. With the upper body stuff I’ve been doing, in terms of flexibility and just overall strength. I was a very dominantly strong lat person, I’ve kind of gotten my lats to relax and have gotten the other muscles in my back to kind of take over and do the work. The ball is just exploding out of my hand now with great life and movement.
“I learned a lot last year about my body and just overall training.’’
At 25, Syndergaard is putting down roots as well.
“I’m closing on a house in Dallas, it’s kinda crazy,’’ he said.
His power ace presence changes the Mets in every way. As for personal goals, Syndergaard is keeping it simple.
“There’s too much out of your control when it comes to that kind of stuff, I just want to get out there and give it my best every five days and put my team in the best possible situation to win and I think those individual accolades will follow,’’ he said.
Noah Syndergaard is poised to take back the mound and that is the first step if the Mets are to take back the division.