New York Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard can throw the heat. Among qualified starters in the MLB, “Thor” threw the league’s fastest average pitch at 97.1 mph. Along with his blazing fastball, the 24-year-old has an off-speed slider that clocks in at around 92 mph.
But apparently that is not fast enough for Syndergaard. During the winter, he spent his time getting stronger so he can pitch faster.
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On Sunday, pitchers and catchers reported to the Mets spring training complex in Port St. Lucie, Florida, and the right-handed Syndergaard reportedly showed up packing 15-17 pounds of new muscle. The 6-foot-6, 240-pounder already looked like he could play in the NFL, but now he actually could.
According to The New York Times:
“I’ve always wanted to throw harder and continue to make the game easier,” he said. “Last year, from my rookie season, my velocity jumped up. I’m always going to try to raise that kind of bar.”
But it’s not just about power for the Mets starter. “Hopefully it allows me to go deeper into games with more ease, but [I am] also focused on paying a lot of attention to my flexibility,” Syndergaard said. “Pitching is not just max effort; it’s about being fluid and having flexibility out there.”
How did Thor gain all that weight this offseason? His diet consisted strictly of bowls of venison.
Though 2016 was only Syndergaard’s second season in the league, it was a breakout year for him. He made the All-Star game and went 14-9 with 218 strikeouts and a third-best-in-the-majors ERA of 2.60.