Reveling in the Brilliance of Jacob DeGrom
Just soaking in the wonderment of watching an all-time great
The immense talent contained within Jacob deGrom’s right arm was evident by the time he made his impressive MLB debut versus the Yankees in 2014 (seven innings, four hits, one earned run, six strikeouts, two walks).
What wasn’t known yet were the heights the former Stetson University shortstop would reach atop that Citi Field mound.
From that mid-May evening in Queens through right around midseason 2017, deGrom was nothing short of incredible, pitching to a 2.89 ERA (2.98 FIP) with 9.60 strikeouts and 2.40 walks per nine innings, 0.79 home runs allowed per nine, and 1.13 WHIP over 87 starts (34-24 W/L).
The seeds were sewn, but there were still inconsistencies. Naturally, in his profession, no one expects perfection every time out. Nor should they. Though, Jacob deGrom holds himself to a higher standard than most other pitchers.
During an early-June 2017 matchup versus the Rangers in Arlington, deGrom got his doors blown off.
Following the bludgeoning, with tears in his eyes, deGrom sat on the bench in obvious disgust. Mets skipper Terry Collins sat down next to him and tried to console his hurler.
Whether it was Collins’ thoughtful, uber-managerial actions that set Jake right or his now-famous drive to succeed that cast him on his current trajectory will likely never be known (it’s the latter).
But deGrom has arguably catapulted himself into Hall of Fame contention in 96 starts since that night in Texas.
Over that span, deGrom’s pitched to a 2.36 ERA (2.55 FIP) with 775 strikeouts (11.21 K/9), 138 walks (2.00 BB/9), and allowed 0.78 home runs per nine innings with 0.98 WHIP. And pay no attention to his 36-27 win-loss record over that span. That doesn’t fall on deGrom.
See? Now you agree, pitcher wins mean nothing. Onward!
Since FanGraphs doesn’t allow for me to expand its custom-date leaderboard further than three years (full-season leaderboards only), we’ll start this from the beginning of his National League Cy Young Award-winning campaign of 2018.
And in case you were wondering, deGrom pitched to a 2.85 ERA over his final 19 starts of the 2017 season.
So without further adieu, Jacob deGrom’s MLB rankings since the start of 2018 (76 starts; 489 IP; per FanGraphs) are as follows:
2.10 ERA, 1st
2.31 FIP, 1st
628 strikeouts, 1st
0.94 WHIP, 2nd
0.66 HR/9, 2nd
1.99 BB/9, 11th
5,197 total strikes, 2nd
28.8% hard-hit rate, 4th
4.9% barrel rate, 8th
38.2% chase rate, 1st
16.2% whiff rate, 1st
Simply amazin’ (swish).
At 32 years old, how much longer deGrom can stay at this level is undetermined.
Though, judging by the nearly 2 MPH increase in his average four-seam velocity between 2019 and 2020 (96.9 MPH to 98.6 MPH), it’s fair to assume there’s a lot more left in the tank.
At this pace, he should have all the fuel he needs to make it to Cooperstown.
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