New York Mets Player Evaluations: Pitcher Jacob deGrom

Daniel Marcillo
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

What more can we say about Jacob deGrom? The New York Mets ace put up another Cy Young caliber season in the shortened 2020 season. Unfortunately, unlike the last two years, deGrom is not the front runner for the Cy Young as he will likely finish second in the race.

deGrom cruised through his first nine starts of the season. He had a 1.67 ERA through 54 innings and held opposing hitters to a .173 batting average. deGrom also led the was in strikeouts with 79 through those first nine outings. deGrom battled through a couple of small injuries to continue his dominance of the league.

The last three starts of deGrom’s season did not match the same dominance. deGrom allowed eight runs in 14 innings, which inflated his ERA to 2.38, and he finished the season at that mark. The September 16 start against the Phillies cost him the most. deGrom only made it through two innings and allowed three runs before leaving with an injury.

In a full season, that start would be a forgotten memory, but it became the forefront of his Cy Young candidacy.

Absolute Dominance

Whether or not deGrom wins the award, there is no denying how great he was. One of the amazing components of his season was the increase in fastball velocity. The four-seamer jumped from an average velocity of 96.9 in 2019 to 98.6 in 2020. deGrom reached back to get to 101 a couple of times this season as well. Hitters already struggled with the fastball from deGrom, but in 2020 batters .186 against the pitch deGrom threw 45% of the time.

Of course, the stuff alone makes deGrom an amazing pitcher, but it’s the deception that makes him elite. All of his pitches come from the same arm slot and looks the same. deGrom’s fastball, changeup, and slider at speeds far above average, combining all of those factors make deGrom the best in the game. He also operates at a level of perfection that draws back to the likes of Tom Seaver.

Tough to Beat

Overall, the numbers were tremendous, going 4-2 with a 2.38 ERA in 68 innings, leading the NL with 104 strikeouts and a 13.8 K/9. deGrom also had his lowest H/9 of his career at 6.2 and his third straight season of allowing less than one home run per nine innings. To support his case of a Cy Young, 8 of 12 starts for deGrom came against playoff teams. 6 of 11 Bauer’s starts came against playoff teams, but all were eliminated during the wild card round.

As a starting pitcher heading into his age-33 season, it is amazing to look at him and see him continuing to get better. He is just reaching his peak as an ace, and the Mets need to take advantage of deGrom’s elite years. Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, and Clayton Kershaw all got their rings, and in 2021 it is time for deGrom to get his.

2020 Grades On 20-80 Scale (2021 Projection)

Fastball: 80 (80), Consistently at 98-100 and is close to unhittable.

Slider: 80 (80), Comes in at 91-93 and has an extremely late break. Usually only thrown to the left-handed side of the plate.

Changeup: 75 (75), At 90-92, it moves just like a sinker.

Curveball: 55 (55), Only threw 30 of them but is a good change of pace in the mid-80s.

Command: 80 (80), Truly a master of his craft.

Endurance: 80 (80), As good at pitch 110 as he is during pitch 10.

Overall: 80 (80), The best pitcher in baseball.