Noah Syndergaard has a new pitch that's nearly impossible to hit, and it's baffling the baseball world

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New York Mets ace Noah Syndergaard is taking baseball by storm with one of the strongest starts to a year that MLB has seen.

Through three starts, Syndergaard has a 0.90 ERA, a 0.95 WHIP, 29 strikeouts, and just 15 hits allowed, including no home runs.

Syndergaard, affectionately known as "Thor" for his long, blonde locks and insane arm, has upped the ante on his velocity this year, already topping 100 mph on 17 pitches this season, according to Sports Illustrated.

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And while his fastball is undoubtedly a major weapon, what's turning heads more is Syndergaard's new, mysterious pitch that some in baseball consider a cutter but others the rarely seen "Warthen Slider."

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As FanGraphs' Eno Sarris detailed last year, the Mets' starters were working on this slider, which focuses on a faster speed with more spin on the ball and a "small, quick movement at the end." Syndergaard, a rookie last season, however, was not among the players really looking to use the pitch.

But now it appears that he's adopted it, and the baseball world can't figure it out.

As SI noted, in Syndergaard's Monday start against the Philadelphia Phillies, in which he struck out eight while allowing one run in seven innings, he threw the pitch 20 times. The result: 15 strikes, 14 swings, and seven swings-and-misses. His best slider topped out at 95 mph, a virtually unseen speed for this type of pitch.

"MLB Tonight" broke down Syndergaard's slider, noting the uptick in usage this season:

syndergaard sliderMLB

With the speed and spin, it's an impossible pitch to hit:

Other times, as Bill Ripken noted, the spin isn't there, but Syndergaard's "off-speed" pitches are still coming in at 92 mph, and batters can't hit it:

Ripken later joked of his approach to trying to hit off Syndergaard, saying that he would quit.

According to ESPN's Mark Simon, before Syndergaard's third start he had thrown the pitch 23 times in two-strike counts and recorded 11 strikeouts. In contrast, according to Simon, the average pitcher records a strikeout about 17% of the time when throwing a slider on two-strike counts. Syndergaard was at 48% through two starts.

The baseball world is in awe of Syndergaard's talent at just 23. Former pitcher Curt Schilling told Simon of Syndergaard's ceiling, "As high [as] or higher than anyone in the game." A major-league scout told Simon that his "ceiling is unlimited. Amazing talent."

It's even more impressive that this is a new skill:

Mets players are blown away, too. Catcher Kevin Plawecki told Simon:

That he can throw it not only that hard, but that he can command it, I think, is most impressive. To be able to throw a 95-mph slider and not know where it's going is not easy ... But for him to be able to throw it as hard as he does and know where to put and to spot it up, I think, is most important.

Third baseman David Wright had perhaps the best description of Syndergaard, comparing him to a video game:

Friends ask me about him. I say, "Think of it this way: When you used to play video games as a kid, if you build the player that you want to build and put all the abilities up to like max 10, he's that guy that you build in the video games — his presence physically, the stuff, the command." He throws 100 mph. If he's not throwing 100, and he's throwing 96 or 97, he can beat you with hitting his spots and his secondary pitches. When he's out there throwing 2-1 sliders or 2-1 changeups or 3-1 curveballs, that just makes it completely unfair when he's got 100 in his pocket.

The MLB season is still young, but Syndergaard is blowing away the baseball world, and he looks like the obvious candidate for the Cy Young Award this season.

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Noah Syndergaard has a new pitch that's nearly impossible to hit, and it's baffling the baseball world
PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 18: Noah Syndergaard #34 of the New York Mets has his hair fly in his face while delivering a pitch in the seventh inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on April 18, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Mets won 5-2. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
New York Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) reacts as he walks off the field at the end of the top of the sixth inning after giving up the tying run to the Philadelphia Phillies during a baseball game, Friday, April 8, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 12: Noah Syndergaard #34 of the New York Mets in action against the Miami Marlins at Citi Field on April 12, 2016 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Marlins defeated the Mets 2-1. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Apr 8, 2016; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) pitches against the Philadelphia Phillies during the second inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 12: Noah Syndergaard #34 of the New York Mets in action against the Miami Marlins at Citi Field on April 12, 2016 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Marlins defeated the Mets 2-1. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
New York Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom throws during the first inning of Game 3 of the National League baseball championship series against the Chicago Cubs Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015, in Chicago. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
KANSAS CITY, MO - APRIL 5: Noah Syndergaard #34 of the New York Mets walks to the mound as he prepares to pitch against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on April 5, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 18: Jacob deGrom #48 of the New York Mets walks on the field prior to game two of the 2015 MLB National League Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs at Citi Field on October 18, 2015 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - APRIL 05: Starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard #34 of the New York Mets pitches during the 5th inning of the game against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on April 5, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Oct 28, 2015; Kansas City, MO, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom throws a pitch against the Kansas City Royals in the first inning in game two of the 2015 World Series at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports
New York Mets' Noah Syndergaard celebrates after Game 4 of the National League baseball championship series against the Chicago Cubs Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2015, in Chicago. The Mets won 8-3 to advance to the World Series. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Oct 21, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) celebrates after defeating the Chicago Cubs in game four of the NLCS at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports
New York Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard throws before Game 2 of the Major League Baseball World Series against the Kansas City Royals Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 15: Jacob deGrom #48 of the New York Mets reacts in the first inning while taking on the Los Angeles Dodgers in game five of the National League Division Series at Dodger Stadium on October 15, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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