Prospect Face-Off: Rafael Montero vs. Noah Syndergaard

By Matt Musico

October 20, 2013 7 Comments

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This week’s face-off is a tough topic. The strength in the Mets’ farm system is in their starting pitching, and we decided to pose an interesting question this week:

Who do you think will have more success in the major leagues, Rafael Montero or Noah Syndergaard?

Two of the top pitchers in New York’s system, but Montero and Thor couldn’t be more different in terms of style. Let’s just go on and get to the debate!

Teddy Klein:

This is incredibly difficult due to the fact that Syndergaard and Montero are two exceptional pitchers who have both dominated at almost every level they’ve been in. When Satish and I went to the Futures game, I asked which team he was rooting for, he said he didn’t know. I told him that I was for the World team with Montero starting. Montero has been thought of as undersized as a pitcher, and doesn’t have a plus pitch, however his control is borderline pinpoint. His breaking pitches are all average and his fastball is above average. Syndergaard has a plus fastball and curve, but lacks a change-up as an evaluator has told me before. Change-up development is incredibly important to his success. What is to his credit is the control, which has been evident since he was drafted. Either way, Syndergaard has more upside over Montero, yet Montero has proven himself up to AAA, which Noah hasn’t. This is is such a toss up, but I’m going to go with the same choice I had at the Futures Game, the Bluer Chip in Rafael Montero. Change-up development is important with Syndergaard thus far, and while Montero’s isn’t plus, it’s serviceable, and better than Noah’s. Either way, they’re both important to the future rotation, especially with their plus control. Verdict: Montero

Satish Ram:

I like that my colleague Teddy chose Montero above — because just as his anecdote about the Futures Game hints at, I’m rolling with Noah Syndergaard. This is, by far, the most difficult choice I’ve had to make in this series. Often when discussing Wheeler coming up through the minors last year alongside Montero, I favored Montero in many situations simply because of his control. He has pinpoint control — and at times it was the best in our system. Syndergaard has the advantage in control over Wheeler, but his change-up is underdeveloped. His fastball and hammer, however, make him an incredible force on the mound that could easily turn into a combo that leads to 200 strikeouts yearly. Syndergaard’s also a physical specimen — an intimidating figure no doubt — which adds to his appeal. Don’t mistake my love for Syndergaard as putting Montero down, however, because I think Montero is highly underrated. That being said, it’s a little difficult to vote against a norse god, so I’ll go with Thor. Verdict: Syndergaard

John Bernhardt:

I had the chance to watch both these guys pitch this summer more than once.  What a treat.  Rafael Montero has the cool poise of a high stakes gambler on the mound.  His mechanics are as smooth as glass, sharp and crisp and repeated on every pitch.  Montero works quickly and effortlessly and has impeccable command.  Noah Syndergaard was electric on the hill at Binghamton.  He was a power pitcher who was hard to hit at what ever level the Mets put him this summer.  The first time Noah pitched at NYSEG Stadium his last pitch was pitch number 93, a 98 mph fastball chalking up his 9th strikeout of the day.  Syndergaard has a slider and curve and a change-up that’s a work in progress.  The last time I watched him, his first few changes had dropped velocity some 6 or 7 mph from the first time I saw him use that pitch, but he was unable to maintain that range throughout his outing.  Which guy will have more success in the major leagues – you have to be a seer to answer that one. Based on pure stuff, I’d vote for Syndergaard. Based on potential longevity, I’d go with Montero.  Verdict:  Syndergaard

Matt Musico:

This was a fun debate to roll out and see what everyone was thinking. At this point, I can’t fault anyone for choosing either one of these guys. A solid case could be made in favor of either. While it’s tough for me to go against Syndergaard and his pure ability, I want to make things interesting. So, I’ll be choosing Montero. His poise, maturity, and control of the strike zone have won me over. The adjustment he made after getting promoted to Las Vegas is what truly impressed me the most. Obviously, Noah hasn’t had the opportunity to prove himself there, but time will tell. However, with the great expectations that are being bestowed upon Syndergaard, I think Montero will benefit from being underrated. Most are expecting him to be a back of the rotation starter at his peak, at best a number three. If he uses his superb control and ability to adjust in the right way, he can outperform what’s expected from him. For Syndergaard, it’s hard to outperform being an ace (but I think he will be one). Verdict: Montero

So, we’re deadlocked at two votes a piece and could use your help. Who do you think will experience more success in the majors, Montero or Syndergaard?

  • Chicago Days

    It’s a conundrum: stuff vs. savvy (some stuff) & razor-sharpe control. What a great ‘problem’ to have to debate which will have the greater MLB success when both are Mets!
    I luv Montero, but IF Syndy can develop his change to be consistent, then i’ll pick Syndy…on his upside.

  • blastingzone

    Syndergaard because even though Montero is going to be a great pitcher Syndergaard is
    going to be a monster! I see Montero being a # 2 where as Syndergaard has the talent to
    be your ACE!! In 2015 Harvey, Wheeler and Syndergaard as your top three 1, 1A, 1B
    and Montero would be your 4th starter on this staff!!

  • chago

    I am a huge fan of Montero’s and love all he has accomplished in shot order I sincerely hope he is not traded because I think that he will be a very solid pitcher for many years. But I just can’t go against Thor here the upside is to great to ignore and he has accomplished a lot in his own right.Can’t wait to see them both toeing the rubber in the near future at Citi.

    THOR

  • Elvis has left

    Oh boy,can’t wait as for 2015.

  • amazins8669

    This is not really a tough question. There isn’t a rational person alive who would trade Syndergaard and Montero. Syndergaard is a potential ace and a top 15 prospect while Montero is maybe a top 50 prospect and a potential 3 with a long shot to be a 2. Syndergaard’s change up is not a non-existent pitch. It is an average pitch and has the potential to be an above average one. The difference between Syndergaard’s stuff and size and Montero’s stuff and size is quite a bit bigger than the half or 1 grade difference between Syndergaard’s and Montero’s change up or control.

    I love Montero and I hope he proves me wrong but at this point it is Syndergaard and it isn’t close

  • Pingback: Mets Minors Week in Review: Syndergaard, Wheeler, Flores, and Montero Crack Top Prospect Lists | MetsMinors.net

  • TexasGusCC

    I also respect Montero’s control and pitching savvy. This should give him a long career and possibly better than Syndergaard. While Syndergaard has the tools, he must learn how to use them correctly and that isn’t a given. Montero has a better idea of his tools, but if he misses his spots, he can get hit easier than Syndergaard. That’s IF Montero misses his spots. Tough call, but since they are both prospects, I’ll go with the ceiling: Syndergaard.

  • amazins8669

    People are making it sound like Syndergaard has no command that is simply not true. He has outstanding command of his stuff. Syndergaard’s FLOOR right now is Montero’s ceiling. There is absolutely no way anyone could prefer Montero over Syndergaard. I like Montero, I think he will be a good pitcher but this question is just not valid.