When the Dodgers signed Noah Syndergaard, many fans were hooked because we've all witnessed the miracle worker that is Mark Prior. The things he did last season with guys like Andrew Heaney and Tyler Anderson made everyone even more excited about what he could do with a guy as talented as Syndergaard.
We know Syndergaard as "Thor" from his days in New York, but he didn't even realistically have to be quite that good. The Dodgers have Clayton Kershaw, Julio Urías and Tony Gonsolin already in the rotation and had Dustin May cruising before he went down with a forearm injury. They needed Syndergaard to be solid, but they didn't necessarily need another ace.
In his first full season coming off Tommy John surgery, Syndergaard had some good moments and some bad. He had a 3.94 ERA in 25 appearances (24 starts) splitting time with the Angels and Phillies. He was able to throw 134.2 innings and stay healthy. The downside for Syndergaard was that his velocity was way down, and that caused his strikeouts to take a massive hit.
He struck out 9.7 batters per nine in his six seasons with the Mets. That number fell dramatically to 6.3/9 last season. Dodgers fans were excited, however, because of the team's history with getting the most out of their pitchers coupled with the potential of Syndergaard throwing harder another year removed from Tommy John. There was a ton of hype surrounding the situation.
Unfortunately, Syndergaard's velocity is actually down from last year. He averaged 93.6 mph with his sinker and 94.1 mph with his four-seam fastball in 2022. He's averaging 92 mph with his sinker and 92.4 mph with his four-seamer this season. This is a guy who used to throw 97-98 consistently with the ability to touch 100 mph.
Syndergaard, with his reduced velocity, is striking out just 6.4 batters per nine and has a 5.94 ERA through eight starts (36.1 innings pitched). He's eclipsed five innings just four times in his eight starts and hasn't looked special whatsoever. May's injury undoubtedly bought him more time in the rotation, but this can't last the entire season if he doesn't improve.