With the news of Noah Syndergaard’s Tommy John surgery, his value has dropped all the way from the low 80s to 11.0.
Why so dramatic? There are a couple of reasons.
First, he has only two years of control left. One of those is now wiped out completely, and the other one by about half. Although the average recovery time for TJS is 14 months, the range tends to be 12-18 months. And even in the best-case scenario, there’s also a slow ramp-up period where the pitcher needs to readjust, ease back in and find his stuff again. Typically, as with the cases of Zack Wheeler, Lance Lynn, and others, the pitcher is not typically back at full strength and effectiveness until the year after that.
In Syndergaard’s case, that means he has no field value in 2020 (against a salary of $9.7M, which is all a loss), and only limited field value in 2021 (our estimate is $30M, which includes the probable value of a draft pick if he is offered a QO). Note that we’ve also adjusted his 2021 salary estimate so that it's also $9.7M, as arbitration salaries typically remain static coming off an injury year. That means he has a field value of $30M against a total salary estimate of $19.4M.
Second, Syndergaard’s WAR projections were very high, which meant that he carried a ton of field value. The loss of effectively 1.5 years of roughly 7-8 WAR means the drop here was immense. It’s not like he was a marginal reliever.
So not only was it a huge loss for the Mets on the field, it was a huge loss from an asset perspective -- it wiped out roughly $70M in tradeable value overnight (not unlike a stock market crash).
Of course, we’ve seen other big-name pitchers go down with TJS this offseason, such as Chris Sale and Luis Severino. The value drops in both of those cases were significant as well, although not as much as Syndergaard. Severino dropped by roughly $40M and Sale roughly $23M -- the differences in those cases were not as severe because both already had injury concerns baked into their numbers (more so than Syndergaard), and both have multiple years of control on their contracts, which gives them time to come back and restore value.