Baseball

A Truly deGrominant Start for Jacob deGrom

Jacob deGrom
Andy Marlin – USA TODAY Sports

Outside of the New York Mets World Series run in 2015 they have disappeared from the headlines. They struggle to put together a reliable team that can take them to the playoffs on a yearly basis, but there is one individual who they can put their complete faith in every time he takes the mound. That player is the incredible Jacob deGrom.

Jacob deGrom is nothing short of impeccable, or as so many are calling him: deGrominant, so far in the 2021 season, but before unpacking this season’s stats through the first two and a half months his previous seasons need to analyzed to understand just how good he has been.

Constant Success Since 2014

Jacob deGrom
Barton Silverman – The New York Times

He was brought up by the Mets in the 2014 season and made his debut on the road against the rival New York Yankees on May 15. Not that anybody could have predicted it, but his first start became a common occurrence based on his pitching success and the Mets offensive failures. In this start he went a solid seven innings where he struck out six and only gave up one run, yet he was handed the loss as the Yankees won 1-0.

A Shaky 2016 and 2017

Despite his ability to put up spectacular numbers and provide quality starts he is rarely given the run support he deserves. Fortunately, he has been able to put up a winning record in every year except one (2016), but his stats say he should have records with a lot of wins and very few losses. Despite these inconsistencies, he continues to push his way to the top.

In 2017 he finished with the most wins of any season of his career, 15, but unfortunately the rest of the stats fell short of his usual dominance. It was his only season of double digit loses, 10, which is a direct result of his worst earned run average (ERA) at 3.53, most hits (180), runs (87), home runs (28) and walks (59) of his career.

From Shaky to Cy Young

An absolutely brutal 2017 did not give the indication that he might turn his 2018 season into one of the best seasons of any starting pitcher in MLB history. Although he finished 10-9 he had a 1.70 ERA, 217 innings pitched, 41 earned runs allowed, 269 strike outs, a .196 opponent batting average and a 0.91 WHIP (Walks plus hits per innings pitched). All of these numbers were the best of his career to this point. He completely turned it around and was rewarded with the Cy Young for the National League.

Although his 2019 was not as perfect, he was still able to pitch well enough to win his second straight Cy Young award and prove himself as one of the most dominant pitchers of all time.

After a shortened 2020 season where he showed out again he was ready to prove himself in a more normal 2021 season.

Making a Statement in 2021

Jacob deGrom
John Bazemore – Associated Press

To start 2021 the Mets took on the Philadelphia Phillies on the road. As expected, Jacob deGrom got the ball and put on a show. He went six innings, gave up three hits, walked two and struck out seven. Sadly the bullpen fell apart in the bottom of the eighth, deGrom got a no decision and the Mets lost.

This would be a good time to note that deGrom is not just a master on the mound, he is also one of the best hitting pitchers. In his opening day start he went 2-3 at the plate with an RBI. He started the season with more RBI’s than runs given up.

In his second start, against the Miami Marlins, he went eight innings, struck out 14 and gave up one run. Sadly he got the loss because the Marlins pitching shut out the Mets. The Mets were only able to muster up three hits and deGrom got one of those.

Finally Getting Wins

He finally got his first win in his third start of the season against the Colorado Rockies where he went six innings, gave up three runs (none of which were earned) and stuck out 14. He followed that up with an even more dominant performance to pick up his second win. Against the Washington Nationals he threw a complete game, gave up two hits and struck out 15.

In 10 starts so far this season he is standing strong at the top of the NL Cy Young candidates with a 6-2 record and the best ERA, WHIP and BAA (batting average against) in all of baseball. After his most recent starts he is standing comfortably at the top.

Handling One of the Best in Baseball

In his last two starts he faced the very powerful San Diego Padres, a tough offense for any pitcher. He is not just any pitcher though, deGrom went a combined 13 innings, gave up four hits, one walk, zero runs and struck out 21.

After these performances he brought his ERA down to 0.56 which is the lowest ERA for any pitcher through his first 10 starts of a season in MLB history. As if that was not crazy enough, he reached 100 strike outs in 61 2/3 innings pitched which is the quickest any pitcher has reached 100 since the mound was moved to its current distance in 1893. To make this season even more ridiculous, after a two RBI single he now has more RBIs, 5, than runs allowed, 4.

Sadly, he has been sidelined with injuries a couple times so far this season and after only six innings against the Padres he was removed from the game with right flexor tendinitis. He received an MRI which came back clean and it is believed that he will be set for his next scheduled start. Currently he is in line to pitch at some point in their four game home series against the Chicago Cubs from June 14-17.

There is never a shortage of pitchers who can perform well outing after outing, but what Jacob deGrom accomplishes each time he steps out on the mound is a special sight to behold. Can he continue this dominance and grab his third Cy Young in the last four years?

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