After signing a one-year deal with the Dodgers in the hopes of returning to his usual spectacular form, Noah Syndergaard has spent plenty of time thinking about what’s gone wrong in recent seasons and what it’ll take for him to get better.
The biggest factor in his hoped-for renaissance? Balance.
While Syndergaard said during his introductory press conference that he he sees no reason he can’t get his pitches back up to 100 mph, the Dodgers’ pitching staff will be happy with less.
“Velocity is important, velocity plays,” pitching coach Mark Prior said to Jack Harris at the Los Angeles Times. “But I think his stuff and his movement and his ability to be down in the strike zone and do different things, I think he pitches extremely well with just that too.”
As a result, the team is exploring the possibility of using a hybrid but still dominant style of pitching with Syndergaard, helping him navigate slower fastball speeds without sacrificing effectiveness.
So far, things are looking good. Syndergaard dedicated his offseason to rebuilding muscle mass and training with Driveline Baseball, Tread Athletics, and Dodgers coaches. His fastball reached 94 mph in his first appearance against live hitting — higher than his average last season — and his mechanics, command, and rhythm all seem to be on track for success.
“I think it will take just one pitch, one feeling that I’m back, and then I’ll be good,” Syndergaard said.
Kyle Kishimoto at FanGraphs explains why the Dodgers’ one-year contract with Jimmy Nelson could have a bigger payoff than expected.
The Dodgers have made a small but significant change to their uniforms, writes CBS Sports’ Dayn Perry: The L.A. logo on the left sleeve of their home jerseys has disappeared, possibly to make way for an advertiser patch.