During the 2016 season, much consternation arose around the Mets’ starting rotation, reaching a fever pitch in late June when it was revealed both Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz had bone spurs in their pitching elbows. Matz’s bone spur was reportedly bigger, and the lefty underwent surgery to remove the spur last month ending his season. However, in a huge sigh of relief for the team, Syndergaard will not need to go under the knife, according to ESPN.
The Mets had not expected Syndergaard to undergo surgery for the issue, but this confirmation is still good news. Syndergaard will be the only projected starting pitcher who won’t be coming off surgery, as Matt Harvey (rib), Jacob deGrom (elbow), Steven Matz (elbow), and Zack Wheeler (Tommy John) all missed at least some of 2016. The bone spur didn’t seem to matter much for Syndergaard, though, as he hurled one of his best games ever last week in the Wild Card game against the Giants and had a 2.71 ERA and 2.69 FIP after the bone spur was confirmed by the team on June 29.
There are other pitchers who have pitched through bone spurs with no problems, most notably the Cubs’ Jon Lester. First reported by Yahoo’s Jeff Passan in The Arm, a book about the vast increase of Tommy John surgeries, Lester’s bone spur was discovered when he reached free agency after the 2014 season. Lester also said he believes he’s been pitching with it for much of his career, but he has never been on the disabled list for any elbow issue.
In 183.2 innings during his first full season, Syndergaard had a 2.60 ERA and 2.29 FIP. He struck out 218 batters and led qualifying NL pitchers in fWAR with 6.5, with the caveat that Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw also had a 6.5 fWAR without enough innings to qualify.