The Decline Of 

Noah Syndergaard


In 2016, Noah Syndergaard’s average 4-seam fastball velocity was 98.7mph, while his sinker averaged 98.5mph. However, he would routinely reach triple digits with both of these pitches. Fast forward to 2023 and Syndergaard’s velocity reached an all-time low, with his 4-seam fastball averaging just 92.3mph and his sinker averaging 92.2mph. These represent significant changes of -6.4mph on his 4-seam fastball and -6.3mph with his sinker. The question becomes: What led to Noah Syndergaard’s velocity to drop as much as it did?

  • Degression
  • Discover
  • Heel Connection
  • Tempo
  • Stacked Torso & Arm Swing
  • Delaying The Trunk
  • Hip Coil
  • Findings & Final Thoughts

Noah Syndergaard


First, it is worth noting that in 2020, Syndergaard underwent Tommy John surgery. However, when he returned in 2021, his 4-seam fastball averaged 94.2 mph and his sinker averaged 95.2 mph. Although these numbers represent drops from his 2016 numbers, they are still improved from 2023. Based on this, I believe it is safe to say that his UCL injury and rehab is not completely responsible for his drop in velocity.


Obviously, there is a lot of information that is unavailable to us, such as how his rehab went, how his arm currently feels, what his lifting and mobility program looks like, and comparing this information to that in 2016. Because of this lacking information, for the purpose of this article, we will mainly focus on the transformation of Noah Syndergaard’s mechanics and what may have led to his drop-off in velocity. 


Additionally, to determine changes in his mechanics we will be comparing video footage of Syndergaard’s mechanics with the Mets in 2016 and the Dodgers in 2023 to identify any visible differences throughout his delivery. This visual analysis can provide valuable insights into the adjustments he has made and how they may be influencing his velocity.


In analyzing Syndergaard’s mechanics, it is important to consider any changes he may have made in his delivery, torso tilt, tempo, scapular load and more. These factors can all have a significant impact on a pitcher’s velocity and control. By examining these aspects of his delivery, we may gain a better understanding of the reasons behind his decreased velocity.


Heel Connection

In 2016, when Noah Syndergaard was with the Mets, his back foot maintained contact with the ground for a longer period of time and would remain in contact until his ankle went into ankle eversion, resulting in a more glute/hip-driven movement from a lower body perspective. While this past season with the Dodgers, his back heel lifts off the ground quite early, leading to a more quad-dominant movement. Generally speaking, glute/hip-driven movers are thought of as moving more efficiently and are able to generate more power. The longer you can maintain contact with the ground, the more force you can create over time.


The importance of weight distribution throughout the back foot is crucial as it helps determine the direction you move down the mound and how you load your back hip. Also, maintaining heel contact with the ground allows you to efficiently load his back hip, finding the hinge and building tension throughout it until he reached his end range of motion when he uncoiled, which he did in 2016 when he was with the Mets.


However, with the Dodgers, as he loses connection between the ground and his heel, making it harder to activate the glute and get into an optimal hip hinge position and build tension throughout the back hip as he accelerates down the mound. This shift in movement pattern may have implications for his pitching performance and injury risk. Maintaining heel contact with the ground generally allows us to maximize our power and efficiency on the mound, as it appears to have with Syndergaard in 2016.



In 2016 with the Mets, it appears that the tempo at which Syndergaard moved down the mound was significantly quicker than with the Dodgers. His increased tempo led him to be more explosive and actively utilize quick twitch muscle fibers. However, with the Dodgers, he appears to just be floating in and out of movements rather than exploding in and out of them.


With the Mets in 2016, the way Syndergaard finishes his delivery leads me to believe he was creating more energy throughout his delivery than in 2023. In 2016, his back leg explodes around the front leg, whereas with the Dodgers it just gradually swings around. This could be due to the slower tempo of his delivery, or his lack of ability to get into a more glute/hip-driven position leading to a less powerful delivery.


He also appears to have become a stiffer mover in 2023, with his movements being more deliberate instead of being free and easy, which could be a result of trying to be too mechanical as a result of struggling to get back to his old form.


Overall, it seems that Syndergaard’s pitching mechanics and tempo have changed over the years, affecting his ability to generate power and explosiveness on the mound. The differences in his delivery between his time with the Mets in 2016 and the Dodgers in 2023 highlight potential areas for improvement and adjustment in order to enhance his performance.


Stacked Torso & Arm Swing

With the Mets in 2016, his torso stayed stacked over his pelvis throughout the delivery, allowing his arm to get into a deeper scapular retraction. During his take back or arm swing, he would take the ball out towards second base. 


On the other hand, with the Dodgers, there is trunk tilt over his back leg at peak leg lift, leading to his arm swing going more downwards instead of outwards. This change in arm angle prevents him from creating the same level of scapular retraction, which is a critical component of the arm swing. With his arm in a lower position during his scapular load, it causes his lat muscle to get in the way, preventing him from getting into a deeper position and hindering efficient scapular retraction. Loading his arm at a slightly more downward angle also prevents him from efficiently activating the pectoral muscle.


Delaying The Trunk

Additionally, with the Mets, he is able to keep his glove side closed longer, delaying the opening of the torso and allowing for additional hip to shoulder separation. He also gets into deeper thoracic spine extension with the Mets, enabling him to generate force over a longer period of time and improve his ability to create layback. This increased range of motion increases the whip-like effect that the arm produces as it moves forward, leading to improved pitching performance.


Hip Coil

Upon peak leg lift with the Dodgers, he has a slight coil in his front hip, whereas with the Mets, his leg lift is much more neutral. This difference could make dissociation between the upper and lower body more difficult to achieve, or it could cause some slight additional tension throughout the hips due to the way the femur sits into the hip socket, preventing him from moving optimally. These minute details are crucial and important at the highest levels.


In fact, these details are so important that Trevor Bauer underwent an x-ray to determine how his femurs sit in his hip socket, so that he could move down the mound in a more optimal way for his anatomy. Noah Syndergaard may not have the ideal hip mobility to have a coil within his leg lift, which could be impeding his ability to move down the mound as effectively as he had in 2016 when his leg lift was more neutral. It is essential for athletes whom are trying to maximize their bodies to pay attention to these small nuances in their movements, as they can greatly impact their performance on the field.


Findings & Final Thoughts

It’s hard to pinpoint one exact cause for his decrease in velocity, and most likely there isn’t just one culprit. As you age, it’s expected that things won’t move as easily as they once did, or that the body may become tighter and alter the way you go about moving down the mound. Or even just directly change the way you go down the mound. Especially with someone who has undergone the workload that Syndergaard’s body has at the velocities he creates, it is not surprising that his body may be moving slightly differently. 


With the Mets, Syndergaard was a drastically more explosive pitcher. Even though he gets into similar positions as he does with the Dodgers, he exploded in and out of those same positions with the Mets, but with the Dodgers, he just kind of gradually flows through them. Watching the video at full speed really shows the stiffness in his delivery compared to when he was with the Mets. 


Factors outside of throwing and injuries could affect this change, such as lifting and mobility work being at the top of the list. These outside factors can play a significant role in how a pitcher’s mechanics and velocity may change over time. It’s important to consider all aspects of a pitcher’s training regimen and routine to ensure they are able to perform at their highest level. 


In conclusion, while there may not be one single reason for Syndergaard’s decrease in velocity, it is clear that a combination of factors, including age, workload, and training methods, can all contribute to changes in a pitcher’s performance. By addressing these factors and making appropriate adjustments, pitchers can work to maintain their velocity and overall effectiveness on the mound.


If I had to choose one or two key contributors to his decrease in velocity, they would be his slower body tempo/lack of explosion throughout positions in his delivery and his back heel coming off the ground early. This does not allow him to utilize his back glute and hip, making it more difficult for him to find the hinge and create tension throughout the back hip. As a result, he experiences less power and a slight change in his path and direction as he moves down the mound.


To get back to his 2016 form, I believe he needs to move more freely (less stiff) throughout the delivery as well as try to move quicker allowing him to create more power throughout his delivery. By focusing on keeping his back heel on the ground longer and engaging his back glute and hip, he can generate more power and maintain a consistent path and direction toward the plate. Strengthening these areas of his delivery will ultimately lead to an increase in velocity and overall performance on the mound.


I do believe that he can certainly return to his old form. I don’t think you just lose the ability to throw 5-7mph slower that quickly unless there is an underlying injury, that is not known. I do think beyond any physical components when you dedicate your life to something, in this case pitching, and velocity being a key contributor to your success. When you can’t find it and don’t necessarily know why, it can cause you to try new things mechanically, leading you to get further and further away from your original form. I’m not saying this is what has happened, but it’s something to keep in mind.


I think, too, it can become mental and you may be starting to overthink mechanics and try to get into better positions which could be the reason for his slowed tempo in 2023, and seemingly stiffer movements. I do think regaining that form will take time, but ultimately I would never put it past someone with the level of ability of Syndergaard.


Even though many of these differences in his mechanics or positions he gets into represent minor changes, they can have big impacts. When you used to throw 100mph, you had to have done so many things right in order to do so, meaning that there really isn’t much room for velocity improvement, but there is significant room for decline. Small adjustments can equal big changes, both positive and negative, but unfortunately for Syndergaard, they represent negative changes.”

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