New York Mets’ spring training standouts: Jacob deGrom

New York Mets, Jacob deGrom
Mar 11, 2020; Port St. Lucie, Florida, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) delivers a pitch during a spring training game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Clover Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Picture the scene: New York Mets‘ training camp. Jacob deGrom, who threw curveballs only 2.9 percent of the time in 2019, hung one to J.D. Davis in a simulated game back in the start of the month. The slugger hit it out of the park and just like that, the two-time Cy Young award winner says: “THAT’s why I don’t throw it.”

DeGrom has accumulated 16.0 fWAR in the last two seasons. He was clearly the league’s best hurler of 2018 and 2019, and he is still at his peak, at 31 years old. Yet he still has the drive to improve, to get better and add more weapons to his repertoire.

The Mets’ hurler started a couple of games in the abbreviated 2020 spring training, with very good results. Of course, for a pitcher of his stature and caliber, spring training stats matter less and getting in physical and baseball shape should be, and are, the priorities.

The Mets’ ace had a good spring

His stats were good, nevertheless: in his two starts, deGrom pitched seven frames and only allowed a single run, which was earned. He only allowed two baserunners, both via base hits. No walks appear on his stat line, and he punched out five rivals. He was pumping 97-98 mph in the radar gun.

Speaking about his curveball experiments, the Mets’ ace said to the New York Post that he has been “putting some work in-between [starts] on it and it’s been good in the pen. In the game, it seems to pop up. It’s something I’ve been working on to have another weapon.”

Just imagine deGrom, who already throws an elite four-seam fastball, slider and changeup, with yet another trick in his sleeve. It would be unfair to opposing hitters.

For now, it is unclear whether deGrom will incorporate the curveball more. Heck, it is unclear if we are going to see an official baseball game in 2020, with the current coronavirus crisis. But one thing is true: in Jacob deGrom, the New York Mets have arguably the major league’s best pitcher, healthy and hungry for a championship.