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The Perception Gap, Part 3: How Mets fans, others view Bartolo Colon, Zack Wheeler, and Noah Syndergaard

How do Mets fans and other baseball fans see youngsters Zack Wheeler and Noah Syndergaard and veteran Bartolo Colon?

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

The third part of this four part series on the perception of Mets' players and personnel takes a deep look into how New York Mets fans and other baseball fans view three Mets pitchers. For this series, writers from Amazin' Avenue, twenty other SB Nation baseball blogs, and prominent national baseball writers were asked how they perceive the Mets by rating them on a one-to-ten scale and then giving a brief comment. Today we look at Bartolo Colon, Zack Wheeler and Noah Syndergaard.

In part one, we looked at Sandy Alderson and Terry Collins, and in part two, we looked at three Mets hitters.

Bartolo Colon

Photo: Chris McShane

One of Sandy Alderson's biggest free agent signings to date, Colon seems to defy the normal rules of longevity. The 40-year-old has hummed along this season, posting solid numbers and captivating Citi field crowds with his meticulous control on the mound and dizzying swings at the plate. With one more season on his contract after this one, Colon might be trade bait this offseason.

Bartolo Colon ERA FIP WHIP K% BB% HR/9
2014 3.85 3.40 1.15 18.8% 3.2% 0.95
Career 3.94 4.06 1.13 17.9% 7.1% 1.07

Average rating, Mets fans: 5.81

Comments behind the numbers

"Freak of nature. For entertainment purposes, I hope he never leaves the National League." —D.J. Short (NBC Sports)

"Given one year too many and taking up a spot for young pitching." —Chris Strohmaier (Amazin' Avenue)

"An underrated strike-thrower who can do wonders with a good defense behind —Aaron Yorke (Amazin' Avenue)

"At this point, he appears to be a league average-ish innings eater." —Zack Drisko (Amazin' Avenue)

"He is the opposite of electric, and there isn't much in the way of easy thrills on offer where he's concerned, but man I love to watch him be the amazing impossible thing he is." —David Roth (SB Nation)

Average rating, non-Mets fans: 6.41

Comments behind the numbers

"Old. Fat. Throws strikes. A delight to have in the game." —Max Rieper (Royals Review)

"Incredible how he's defied age and his unique physique to remain successful." —Jonah Keri (Grantland and Five Thirty Eight)

"The Mets should keep him, not only for the fun of having Bartolo Colon, but because a young staff is going to need an innings eater in it next year, and if you'll pardon me using the word "eater" with him, Colon should still be able to get deep into games as the No. 3 or 4 starter on a staff." —Jesse Spector (Sporting News)

"Miraculous." —Aaron Finkel (Viva el Birdos)

"Laughed at Mets for signing him, laugh more every time he bats." —Mark Brown (Camden Chat)


Bartolo Colon Mets Fans Non-Mets Fans
0 to 2 0 0
3 to 4 2 2
5 to 6 10 13
7 to 8 4 10
9 to 10 0 1


Though the comments were interesting, Colon is one of only two players that Mets fans rate lower than non-Mets fans. Mets fans don't seem overly impressed with his performance, most give him credit for being a solid, innings-eating starter, but aren't overly impressed with how he has played.

Those fans looking in from the outside are more impressed by both his performance and the comedy he brings to the field, and they expressed a level of amazement that Colon is still going at this point in his career.

Zack Wheeler

Photo: Getty Images

Acquired a few years ago from the Giants in the Carlos Beltran trade, Wheeler, raced through the minor leagues and reached the big leagues with a lot expected of him. While he hasn't been as good as Mets' ace Matt Harvey, he has been a very good pitcher, who at 24-years-old seems to have a lot of room still to grow.

Zack Wheeler ERA FIP WHIP K% BB% HR/9
2014 3.48 3.55 1.32 22.8% 10.0% 0.65
Career 3.46 3.79 1.34 21.5% 10.3% 0.75

Average rating, Mets fans: 6.84

Comments behind the numbers

"He's just scratching the surface of his potential." —D.J. Short (NBC Sports)

"The high-level numbers are good -- it's just been a windy road getting there." —Rob Castellano (Amazin' Avenue)

"Promising young pitcher with electric stuff; if he continues this nice streak and takes a major step forward with the command, he could be special." —Zack Drisko (Amazin' Avenue)

"Stuff is incredible but difficult to harness." —Greg Karam (Amazin' Avenue)

"There are the frustrating moments, and they're frustrating, both those authored by Wheeler in his process of figuring things out and Terry Collins in his process of not figuring it out. But watching Wheeler figure it out is fun, and in the relatively safe space of a season that barely matters it's easy to enjoy how electric Wheeler already is, and to watch him find ways to be even better than that. Appointment viewing, for sure." —David Roth (SB Nation)

Average rating, non-Mets fans: 6.71

Comments behind the numbers

"Getting better, as many talented young pitchers do once they acquire experience." —Jonah Keri (Grantland and Five Thirty Eight)

"Just a season and a half into his career, Wheeler is already a league-average starter who has serious potential to get plenty better. Mets fans should write Brian Sabean many thank-you letters." —Andrew Mearns (Pinstripe Alley)

"Back of the rotation expectations." —Daniel Russell (D Rays Bay)

"It's not impossible to imagine that Wheeler, rather than Matt Harvey in a first year back from surgery that can often be a bit rocky, is the best pitcher the 2015 Mets have." —Jesse Spector (Sporting News)


Zack Wheeler Mets Fans Non-Mets Fans
0 to 2 0 0
3 to 4 0 0
5 to 6 4 8
7 to 8 11 26
9 to 10 1 0


Wheeler is one of the few cases where Mets fans' and other fans' perceptions coalesce for the same reasons. The vast majority of fans surveyed believe Wheeler has performed well and still has room to grow. Many fans did add caveats to their ratings, believing he is close to taking his ability to an even higher level

Some fans are still hesitant about anointing Wheeler too soon, but Mets fans seem more concerned about the expectations that having Matt Harvey on the same team will bring upon Wheeler. But many of their concerns have been lessened over the past couple of months as Wheeler has performed admirably.

Noah Syndergaard

Photo: Gordon Donovan

The mighty Thor is the next Mets farmhand to step into an important role with the major league team. Acquired as part of the R.A. Dickey trade, Syndergaard has risen to the top of most prospect lists and is perceived by many to be ready for his debut. Even with his highly-respected skill set, his name has popped up in many trade rumors, so whether on the mound or in a trade, Syndergaard seems poised to make a huge contribution.

Noah Syndergaard ERA WHIP K/9 BB/9 HR/9
2014 (AAA Las Vegas) 4.72 1.50 9.7 3.0 0.8
Minor League Career 3.23 1.22 10.0 2.6 0.6

Average rating, Mets fans: 6.67

Comments behind the numbers

"He's a beast with an incredible fastball and promising secondary stuff; he could be a top-of-the-rotation dude if things come together." —Zack Drisko (Amazin' Avenue)

"I like what I read and I like how he's been handled; I also haven't had time to get attached to him yet, and so could totally deal with him turning into a shortstop or good corner outfielder if need be. The number rating reflects only residual There Is No Such Thing As A Pitching Prospect skepticism. I'm bullish, here, because I don't know enough not to be." -—David Roth (SB Nation)

"Despite current struggle in Vegas, a combination of blazing fastball and wicked hook will definitely play in the bigs." —Huy Nguyen (Amazin' Avenue)

"Sky is the limit but inconsistency in Triple-A shows he's not ready for prime-time." —Michael Avallone (Amazin' Avenue)

"He's still a young kid for pitching in Triple-A, and I've been fine with letting him stay there to refine his craft. Not too concerned by him not putting up 'wow' numbers but happy to just see him healthy and making his start every fifth day, with his stuff, the rest will come." —Adam Walsh (Amazin' Avenue)

Average rating, non-Mets fans: 6.78

Comments behind the numbers

"I try to err on the side of caution with prospects, but Syndergaard looks every bit the part of a productive MLB starter in the near future." —Matt Collins (Over the Monster)

"Still fuming that the Blue Jays traded him away for R.A. Dickey." —Scott Cooke (Bluebird Banter)

"Part of the fleecing of the Jays in the Dickey trade." —Adam Morris (Lone Star Ball)

"One of the reasons why I kinda hate the Mets. Do you have to have all the young pitching?" —David Coleman (The Crawfish Boxes)


Noah Syndergaard Mets Fans Non-Mets Fans
0 to 2 0 0
3 to 4 0 2
5 to 6 8 8
7 to 8 6 12
9 to 10 1 3


Nearly all of the respondents weren't 100 percent set in their ratings for Syndergaard since he has yet to throw a pitch in the big leagues, but nearly everyone surveyed is in agreement that he is a special talent and has the chance to make a major impact when he reaches the majors. A few non-Mets fans are even a little envious of the glut of young pitching the team has.

Mets fans as a whole aren't worried about Syndergaard's minor struggles this season in the hitter's haven in Triple-A Las Vegas. Many fans also mentioned the possibility of a Syndergaard trade, with fans on both sides of the debate, some liking him for what he can bring the Mets on the mound and others preferring he be traded to help the team acquire a much-needed bat.