Gerrit Cole, the Yankeesâ€™ most recent high-profile signing, is taking all the headlines. It shouldnâ€™t be a surprise, as he put pen to paper to a nine-year, $324 million contract. But whoâ€™s the true king of New York, he or the Metsâ€™ Jacob deGrom?
The case for DeGrom, the New York Metsâ€™ undisputed ace
When it comes to run prevention, Jacob deGrom has virtually no peers in the Major Leagues. He had a mind-boggling 1.70 ERA in 2018 and a 2.43 mark in 2019, when fly balls were leaving parks at alarming rates.
The most telling stat about deGrom, who has been New Yorkâ€™s undisputed ace the last two seasons, is WAR. In the last two years, he has a fantastic 16.0 fWAR, the highest mark among starting pitchers. It isnâ€™t particularly close, as Max Scherzer and Gerrit Cole, the second and third-ranked hurlers, have 14.0 and 13.4, respectively.
Metsâ€™ fans have the pleasure to enjoy arguably the best pitcher of the league. He won the Cy Young award in 2018 and 2019. This season, he had a healthy 11.25 K/9 and 1.94 BB/9. His 2.67 FIP was slightly worse than last yearâ€™s insane 1.99 mark. He is a beast.
The case for Cole, the New York Yankeesâ€™ newest workhorse
Whereas deGrom is known for his run prevention skill, Cole makes his living with the strikeout. Itâ€™s not like the Metsâ€™ ace doesnâ€™t strike people out, or that the new Yankee workhorse has high eras. Itâ€™s just that each pitcher has something that defines them.
The New York Yankeesâ€™ recent free agent acquisition had a 13.82 K/9. Yes, you read that correctly, and no, the number isnâ€™t associated with a high-powered reliever. Cole can miss bats with his heater, changeup, curveball, and slider.
The Mets‘ deGrom won the WAR battle in 2018 9.0 to 6.0, but Cole took it back in 2019, 7.4 to 7.0 thanks to a season for the ages with the Houston Astros. He was unbeaten for months, he had a 2.50 ERA in the American League, and he pitched 212.1 innings. Cole issued few walks (2.03 BB/9) and won 20 games. His 326 strikeouts and 0.895 WHIP are impressive marks.
He was an absolute monster in the postseason. The Tampa Bay Rays could only muster a meager run in 15.2 innings, with three walks and 25 punchouts. He had a scoreless seven-inning performance against the Yankees, and a 3.86 ERA in the World Series.
While Gerrit Cole has more than enough merits to be the king of New York, he will have to earn that on the mound. For now, Jacob deGrom wins this hypothetical race with the slightest of margins, thanks to his otherworldly run prevention skills and his WAR advantage.
New York is in for an exciting 2020 season, and both the Mets and the Yankeesâ€™ rotations will be anchored by these two phenomenal hurlers.