MLB Overnight: Throwback Thor

The baseball season is long. And we’re here to help: MLB Overnight covers the interesting night-in, night-out goings-on of The Show.

Noah Syndergaard sizzles again

Noah Syndergaard took the mound for the New York Mets on Monday. Syndergaard threw two innings against a well-represented Houston Astros starting lineup, striking out two and hitting triple-digits 11 times. He looked good in limited action.

Syndergaard was exceptional before he got hurt last season: In four full starts, he struck out 30 batters over 26 innings, giving up five earned runs on a 1.73 ERA. While no one should expect that those numbers will be normal production, most projections give Syndergaard 140-180 innings of all-star level power pitching, punctuated by a plus-10 strikeouts-per-nine-innings (SO9 or K/9, depending on where you get your stats from) rate. If he can stay healthy and consistent through a minimum 25 starts, New York’s fluid and frustrating starting pitching situation will have at least two streak starters/stoppers—Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom—blazing through bats on the front-end.

Work on your fundamentals

Shin-Soo Choo has 130 stolen bases for his career. He’s broken 20 in a season four times, though not since 2013. Nomar Mazara has two stolen bases in 293 career games. Both clocked in with just under-average base-running speed by Statcast last season.

Of course, the two combined to execute a double steal—second and home—against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Stealing home isn’t really a thing, let alone a fundamental: The Padres, Dodgers and Blue Jays led the league with two apiece last season. But the double-steal is a neat little wrinkle in situational baseball and an immediate trigger of nostalgic Americana: If you spent any time around little league, you know exactly how every part of the play goes for it to work.

Ohtani in the box

Shohei Ohtani had an uneven performance in his much-anticipated pitching debut Saturday. But Ohtani’s lore includes his bat, which he got to show off as the starting DH for the Angels on Monday. Ohtani went 1-1 with two walks. His hit drove in a run:

Ohtani also displayed some good patience and pitch recognition during his three at-bats. He worked his first walk after falling behind 0-2 in the count.

King Felix’s painful debut

Felix Hernandez took this shot off his forearm:

Hernandez would later be diagnosed with a forearm bruise. He’s listed as day-to-day.

The good and bad for the White Sox

The Chicago White Sox aren’t a good team. Fangraphs—like most projection systems—puts them as a bottom-three team in 2018. On the bright side, they have a stellar farm system to look forward to. Baseball America ranks Chicago’s farm system fourth in baseball.

Michael Kopech, Chicago’s second-best prospect and the 10th best in baseball according to MLB Pipeline, made his Spring Training debut yesterday. He worked two innings, surrendering two hits and striking out three.

Kopech was part of the Chris Sale deal with the Red Sox that also netted Yoan Moncada. Moncada is on the big league roster already; Kopech is expected to be there at some point this season.

Of course, prospects are volatile assets. A lot of the difficulty with projecting young players is anticipating their health. Chicago’s top-rated prospect, Eloy Jimenez, has been out with knee soreness. Third basemen Jake Burger, Chicago’s first-round draft pick in 2017, was carted off the field with an achilles injury.

Chicago’s South-Siders have the pieces for a bright future already in-house. Here’s to hoping they stay healthy.

Khurram Kalim is a senior writer for Bronx to Bushville.

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