Mike Freire - Is Noah Injury Prone?


As I sit down to write this article, I am already expecting some backlash for even suggesting something negative about our favorite "Norse God".  Some would say that it is easy to be negative, or to find something to complain about and that seems to be true (especially with the main stream media outlets).  Others might argue that this is an attempt at creating "fake news" and it really is just an effort to generate attention ("click bait").

In truth, it is none of the above.  Instead, I think it is a fair question and I present it to each of you to decide for yourself.  I think there is some "smoke" developing here and it behooves us as fans to see if there is a fire developing or if this is just hyperbole.

We are all familiar with Noah's story.   He was drafted in the first round of the 2010 MLB Draft by the Toronto Blue Jays and began his pitching career shortly thereafter.  The Mets managed to obtain Noah, along with a few other pieces, in the much publicized trade for former "ace" R.A. Dickey in December of 2012 (also known as Sandy's crowning achievement).

At the time, Noah was more prospect and projection then anything, but he has certainly developed into one of the more talented pitchers in MLB at the relatively young age of 25 (soon to be 26).  Additionally, he is a monster of a human being (6-6 and 240 pounds) and his nickname (Thor, God of Thunder) is certainly apropos,
at least when he is on the mound.

He made his debut in May of 2015 and started 24 games by the end of season (with a loose innings management plan in place, I am sure).  The 2016 season followed and he recorded 30 starts, which most folks consider a "full season", at least in the modern era.  Despite some "blister" issues, he pretty much was available when needed, so you could say he was fairly durable during his first two years in New York.

However, he had bicep issues and a torn right "lat" muscle in 2017 that cost him most of the season, with the exception of seven starts.  Then, in 2018, he has had ligament problems in his right index finger (important for his craft as a right handed pitcher) that have cost him several starts and his return is still to be determined.
Even if he comes back in the next few weeks, he will likely turn in fewer then 30 starts, so you could argue that his last two seasons were incomplete due to injuries and that injuries have compromised half of his four season career to date.

None of the injuries are career threatening (unless he loses a finger), but they are starting to add up a bit.  Plus, he will turn 26 this August, so he isn't a brand new prospect anymore.

Complicating the issue is his contract status, where is is making just under three million dollars for the 2018 campaign.  Additionally, he is arbitration eligible the next three seasons (2019, 2020 and 2021), so the Mets control his rights for a while, but he is going to get much more expensive as time moves along.  Then, he hits free agency in 2022 where he will likely strike it rich as an available, 29 year old "ace" in a pitching starved league.

With that said, here are a few questions to chew on;

1.  Is Noah injury prone or are the listed ailments just a fluke?

2.  Do you think these issues are a sign of things to come or just a blip on the radar?

3.  Should the Mets "sell high" before they get locked into an expensive, albeit injury prone pitcher?

4.  In a lost season, is he worth more to the Mets' future in what he could fetch in a trade, as opposed to anchoring the starting rotation through 2021?

5.  Or, do they go the "David Wright route" and commit to him long term, despite the red flags?



Thomas Brennan said...

I think they commit to him financially when they have to, or trade him if made an offer we cannot possibly refuse.

The torn lat was over-training related. I remember the first time I heard what incredible weight he was doing on dead lifts and leg presses, I thought "doesn't that increase the chance of injury?"

Sure enough last year.

Is the finger at all related to weight training? Probably not, but who knows.

ALL pitcher training should be job-focused - what will allow him to pith every 5th day and hit healthily. Anything else may result in a sculpted physique, but be unnecessary or even risky.

Tom Seaver never worked out like Noah. Seaver did pretty well too.

Mack Ade said...

Things would be so much more simple if he and Jake could stay healthy and would accept an extension through, oh, let's say 2023.

Peterson, Dunn, and Kay look like future members of this rotation.

Lugo, Matz, and Gsellman in the pen...

(I just woke up)

Sorry... I was dreaming.

Mike Freire said...

They are fortunate that he is under control for a bit, but a decision will eventually need to be made.

Imagine the haul you could get for Jake and Noah!

(it is also nice to imagine both of them anchoring our rotation for the next 7 to 10 years, too)

Reese Kaplan said...

I'm in the "Trade 'em!" school of thinking, but not if Sandy Alderson is the one making the deal. After all, I don't think the roster can handle many more medicore middle relievers.

Eddie Corona said...

I am in the Trade thor But keep Degrom... Yes Degrom is older but since he was a SS he has less miles on the arm. And he seem to know how to pitch and not just throw...
Someone needs to be the face of this mets team...

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