Coming into the 2015 season, Noah Syndergaard was the Mets' consensus top prospect. There were at least some experts and fans who were concerned about his performance in Triple-A Las Vegas in 2014, but he still ranked first on our list here at Amazin' Avenue and on the lists at Baseball Prospectus and Baseball America.
Back in spring training, the 6-foot-6 Syndergaard flew under the radar a bit, as he regularly pitched after Matt Harvey in spring games. He looked fantastic, though, and when the season started, it was tough to see him start the year in the minors while the Mets took Bartolo Colon, Jon Niese, and Dillon Gee with them to start the year in the rotation. All of that was understandable, of course, but Syndergaard's potential major league debut was much more exciting.
So Syndergaard went to Vegas and dominated. Through five starts, he had a 1.82 ERA and 2.99 FIP with 10.3 strikeouts, 2.4 walks, and 0.6 home runs per nine innings—despite pitching in the hitter's haven that is the Pacific Coast League. In early May, Dillon Gee hit the disabled list, and Syndergaard got called up. He never went back to the minors.
He made his debut against the Cubs on May 12 and gave up three runs in five-and-one-third innings with six strikeouts and four walks. But he settled in very nicely from there, and in his second start at home on May 27, he pitched very well and hit a long home run to center field, which sort of cemented his arrival. In total, Syndergaard made 24 major league starts and threw 150 innings in the regular season. He finished the year with a 3.24 ERA and 3.25 FIP with 10.0 strikeouts, 1.9 walks, and 1.1 home runs per nine innings.
Per Brooks Baseball, Syndergaard's fastballs—four-seam and two-seam—averaged 97.8 miles per hour, which ranked among the very hardest-throwing starting pitchers in the game. And during the 2015 season, he picked up a new slider—the "Warthen slider," if you will.
On top of that. Syndergaard was fantastic in the playoffs, even if he finished with a 3.32 ERA in his four appearances. He pitched extremely well against the Dodgers in Game 2 of the NLDS before things turned—thanks in part to Chase Utley's awful slide—and the Dodgers came back to beat the Mets. But Syndergaard came back and threw a dominant inning in relief in the Game 5 NLDS clincher, made a good start against the Cubs in the NLCS, and started the only game the Mets won against the Royals in the World Series.
In total, Syndergaard's graduation to the big leagues really couldn't have gone much better than it did. He didn't struggle upon his promotion, he got better as the season went along, and he might have been the Mets' best pitcher at the end of the season. There's a lot of work to do to earn that title moving forward, as Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom are two of the very best pitchers in baseball, but it doesn't seem impossible. That's crazy, but it's great.