Noah Syndergaard Is the Best Second-Year Pitcher in Over 30 Years

Bryan Brandom
(Photo: Getty)

Noah Syndergaard dominated the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday.

The New York Mets starter affectionately known as "Thor" (for fairly obvious reasons) hammered the Brew Crew to the tune of 11 strikeouts, zero walks, and zero earned runs in seven innings to guide his team to a 3-1 victory and second place in the NL East. A homer from his roommate Michael Conforto proved to be the difference. 

It's become a familiar sight—the 6'6" beast scattered six hits (all singles) and lowered his ERA to 1.94, and his WHIP to 0.978. He's 5-2 in nine starts.

Perhaps the most (Norse) godly part: Syndergaard is 23 and in his second big league season. It's been over 30 years since a second-year pitcher has been this effective.

And because the Mets are commemorating the 30-year anniversary of their last World Series victory by wearing retro 1986 uniforms on Sunday home games, the last sophomore to be this good wore the same jersey as Thor did against Milwaukee.

That'd be Dwight "Doc" Gooden.

According to ERA+, a stat that determines pitcher performance by taking into account ballpark factors and the league's average ERA of each year, if Syndergaard were to maintain his current pace he'd finish with the fifth-most dominant sophomore season ever. An ERA+ of exactly 100 is average. Syndergaard's is 198.

Doc comes in at No. 2 with an ERA+ of 229. The other three guys to have bested Thor's current pace did so over 100 years ago.

That 1985 sophomore year of Gooden's earned him an NL Cy Young award, which Thor has a chance of wresting from the similarly hot Clayton Kershaw.

And even if Syndergaard doesn't beat Kershaw out for the Cy Young and doesn't overcome Gooden's sophomore numbers, neither will ever have a Twitter game—or love for his roommate—as strong as Syndy.

[h/t reddit]

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