The Twins and Mets have had discussions surrounding Noah Syndergaard since the Mets have made the right-hander available, reports La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Minnesota has been linked to virtually every arm on the trade market — starter and reliever alike — so their inclusion in the Syndergaard bidding hardly comes as a shock. Nor is it surprising that Neal indicates that the Mets have focused in on top prospects Royce Lewis and Alex Kirilloff as potential headliners in a deal.
Lewis, 20, was the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2017, and the shortstop entered the season ranked as a consensus top 10 prospect in all of baseball. He’s scuffled a bit in his first exposure to Class-A Advanced, hitting .243/.295/.384 through 410 plate appearances. Lewis, though, is still rather young for the Florida State League and is still generally regarded as a premier prospect, even if there’s a bit more of a divide on his status at the moment. Baseball America dipped Lewis to No. 21 on its latest update of the game’s top 100 minor leaguers, while Lewis resides at No. 2 over on Fangraphs’ latest update.
Kirilloff, 21, also entered the season regarded as one of the game’s 20 best prospects. He hasn’t replicated last season’s dominant numbers between Class-A and Class-A Advanced, but the outfielder has turned in a .284/.351/.403 slash in 261 plate appearances against older, more experienced competition with Double-A Pensacola.
The Twins have reportedly been loath to part with either Lewis or Kirilloff — the same has been true of top pitching prospect Brusdar Graterol — although Syndergaard brings a different level of appeal to the table than most other arms known to be available. He’s controlled through the 2021 season (a year longer than Marcus Stroman or Mike Minor), has multiple dominant seasons on his resume (unlike Matthew Boyd), is still in arbitration as opposed to on a guaranteed contract (unlike Zack Greinke) and, despite a lackluster ERA on the season, offers some of the best raw stuff of any pitcher in baseball.
Syndergaard still averages 97.7 mph on his heater with a slider he can throw in the low 90s, and every club in baseball surely has its own ideas about how to restore his bottom-line results to their previous levels, which more closely aligned with his premium arsenal. The Twins, in particular, have added incentive to pursue controllable starters; each of Jake Odorizzi, Kyle Gibson and Michael Pineda are free agents this winter.