New York Mets Player Evaluations: Pitcher Jacob deGrom

New York Mets, Jacob deGrom

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.

 

 

New York Mets: Jacob deGrom once again in the National League elite

New York Mets, Jacob deGrom

New York Mets‘ ace Jacob deGrom has been named a Cy Young finalist for the third time in a row, according to an announcement made by MLB on Monday night. He won the award in the previous two seasons, and has a very good chance of taking it home for the third consecutive year.

If he wins, the Mets’ ace will join a select group of hurlers with three consecutive Cy Youngs: Greg Maddux and Randy Johnson. Yes, they are both in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

The “Big Unit” won it four years straight from 1999-2002.

The Mets’ righty will have some fierce competition this year, in the form of Cincinnati Reds (now a free agent) pitcher Trevor Bauer and Chicago Cubs’ frontline starter Yu Darvish.

In 12 starts with the New York Mets, deGrom went 4-2 with a 2.38 ERA and 104 strikeouts. He was as dominant as ever, with 13.76 strikeouts per nine innings and only 2.38 walks per nine frames. He had an excellent 2.26 FIP and was second in the National League in fWAR with 2.6.

The Mets’ ace has some stiff competition

Bauer made one less start than deGrom, but compiled a 5-4 record and an NL-leading 1.73 ERA. However, he benefited quite a bit from the luck factor (2.88 FIP and .215 BABIP) and if voters pick up on that, deGrom should earn some votes.

The Mets’ hurler also has a formidable foe in Darvish. The talented Cubs’ ace went 8-3 (which could convince some of the more traditional voters) and also had a better ERA (2.01) and fWAR (3.0, top of the league.)

To the contrary of what it happening in the American League, in which Shane Bieber has a clear advantage over the other two nominees, the National League will likely be a much closer race.

The winner will be announced on Nov. 11 at 6 p.m. Will the Mets have one reason to celebrate after a rather disappointing 2020?

New York Mets: Nats Sweep Doubleheader to End Mets Playoff Hopes

New York Mets, Jacob deGrom

The New York Mets needed an amazing start from Jacob deGrom to keep their postseason hopes alive, but he was only average on Saturday. In game one of the doubleheader, the Washington Nationals won 4-3 and took game two 5-3 against the struggling Rick Porcello. It became the fourth consecutive season that the Mets missed the playoffs.

Jacob deGrom came out firing bullets in the first inning. He hit 102 mph with his fastball, the fastest pitch of his career, and tying the fastest pitch of the season. deGrom ran into trouble from the third inning on, as he lost command, allowing a run in each of the final three innings he pitched. While striking out 10, his ERA went up to 2.38 and knocked out his chances of winning the Cy Young.

The Mets offense got to Max Scherzer early with a two-run home run from Wilson Ramos and a solo homer from Amed Rosario. Unfortunately, the Mets offense went dead late in the game as they left the lead run at third with one out in the sixth inning. Back-to-back strikeouts killed the rally and were followed by the Nationals taking the lead in the bottom half of the inning.

The Mets also lost Andres Gimenez to an oblique injury, which caused Rosario to enter the game. Dominic Smith also suffered a crushing blow, running face-first into the left-field fence. It allowed Andrew Stevenson to round the bases for an inside the park home run for his second homer of the game.

Porcello Struggles Again in Game Two

Rick Porcello towed the rubber for a meaningless game two of the doubleheader. He could not replicate the success from his last start allowing five runs over three innings. All the Nationals runs came in the third inning, as ten men went to the plate.

After the game, Porcello was disappointed in his poor season. He likely will not remain with the Mets for next season, and it is hard to see him landing with another contender in 2021. Porcello was not the only disappointed Mets starter as deGrom also voiced his frustrations with the underachieving Mets.

The Mets offense struggled outside of Pete Alonso. He hit a line-drive home run, which added to a good rebound day at the plate. Alonso showed better discipline at the plate and emphasized hitting the ball hard instead of just hitting it in the air.

Seth Lugo gets the final start of the season as he faces off against Austin Voth. Game 60 starts at 3:05 p.m. ET from Nationals Park as the Mets hope to avoid last place.

 

New York Mets: Jacob deGrom has four rivals in the Cy Young race

The New York Mets depend on a miracle to advance to the playoffs in the shortened 2020 MLB season. They can’t lose anymore and other teams in the race would have to lose, which makes it even more complicated.

What they do have, even if it doesn’t represent such an appealing consolation prize to the Mets’ fanbase, is a firm Cy Young candidate. Jacob deGrom has the resume to fight for his third consecutive award, something that only Greg Maddux and Randy Johnson have achieved in the history of the game.

On Monday, deGrom pitched seven innings of two-run ball, striking out 14 hitters and retaking the National League lead in the latter category. He has, to this day, a 2.14 ERA, which is fifth in the NL, and 94 punchouts, tops in the circuit.

“He’s probably the top pitcher in the NL,” Mets third baseman J.D. Davis said to Anthony DiComo of MLB.com. “We’ve played against a lot of great pitchers, hit against a lot of great pitchers, and it’s been unbelievable to watch Jake.”

The Mets’ ace has some serious rivals

Let’s examine the foes that the Mets’ ace would have to top in order to finish with his third straight Cy Young:

Trevor Bauer: The Cincinnati Reds ace has a 1.80 ERA, 88 strikeous and a 2.0 fWAR in 65.0 innings. With a sub-2.00s ERA and a chance to eclipse 100 fanned batters, the controversial righty has a good case for the award.

Yu Darvish: The veteran Chicago Cubs’ ace is seventh in ERA with 2.22, but is tied in the NL lead with 2.7 fWAR while fanning 88 hitters, just like Bauer. He has been a big reason behind the Cubs’ amazing season.

Dinelson Lamet: The Mets’ ace has a formidable foe in San Diego’s Lamet. He is the owner of a 2.07 ERA, the fourth-best in the National League, and his 89 strikeouts are second. He also has a 2.3 fWAR in 65 1/3 frames.

Corbin Burnes: Perhaps the biggest surprise in the group, Burnes has been Milwaukee’s ace and just recently started qualifying for the ERA title because he started the year as a reliever. He currently leads the NL in ERA with a tiny 1.77 and has 83 strikeouts. He is a little short in innings (56.0) but has managed to put a great fWAR (2.6.)

DeGrom himself has been the unquestioned New York Mets’ ace once again. He is fifth in ERA, first in strikeouts and is tied for first in fWAR, with 2.7. He is liking his chances.

“I feel like everything is where I want it,” said deGrom. “It’s just a short season — what is that, 11, 12 starts? You’re used to making 30-plus, so I feel like I could keep going and keep improving. But I don’t have that opportunity.”

“He can do some special things,” Mets manager Luis Rojas said, “that can definitely put him back at the top of that race for sure.”

New York Mets: deGrom’s 14 Strikeouts Wasted in 2-1 Loss Against Rays

The New York Mets and Tampa Bay Rays displayed why each team sits in their respective positions in their respective divisions. Tampa Bay used their opener method and heads up baseball to win while the Mets failed to make the most of Jacob deGrom‘s stellar start. The 2-1 loss was the third straight game a Mets starter struck out at least ten batters.

deGrom showed no ill-effects from his hamstring spasms that hampered his last start. His strikeouts stuff was on display with 14 strikeouts over seven innings and allowing two runs. deGrom threw a season-high 112 pitches and, most impressively, was still throwing over 100 mph when he reached the century mark.

Bullpen Dominance

The Rays revolutionized the opener for the rest of baseball and showed its worth again. Six pitchers combined to keep the Mets to one run. Josh Fleming had the longest outing with three innings, striking out two while allowing the only Mets run.

The game-changing play came from Willy Adames in the bottom of the fifth inning and the Rays up 2-0. Jeff McNeil lined a ground ball up the middle with the bases loaded and two outs. Adames dove to stop the ball from trickling to the outfield, preventing two runs from scoring. Fleming ended up getting J.D. Davis to fly out, keeping the 2-1 lead. It was the last scoring opportunity the Mets put together.

The lone Rays runs came from Manuel Margot‘s sac fly, and Nate Lowe‘s home run off deGrom. This was the type of game the Rays were built to win. They came into the game with winning records in both one-run and two-run games.

The Mets try to get back in the win column on Tuesday with Seth Lugo on the mound. He faces former Cy Young winner Blake Snell for the 7:10 p.m. ET start from Citi Field.

New York Mets Series Preview: Tampa Bay Rays (9/21-9/23)

New York Mets, Jacob deGrom

The New York Mets try to hold on to their small hopes of making the postseason as they take on the Tampa Bay Rays in a three-game series. The Rays are the best team in the American League, and the Mets need a sweep to keep their chances alive.

Probable Pitching Matchups:

Monday, (9/21) @ 7:10 p.m. ET: Pete Fairbanks (5-3, 2.74 ERA) vs. Jacob deGrom (4-1, 2.08 ERA)

Tuesday, (9/22) @ 7:10 p.m. ET: Blake Snell (4-1, 3.05 ERA) vs. Seth Lugo (2-3, 4.34 ERA)

Wednesday, (9/23) @ 7:10 p.m. ET: Tyler Glasnow (4-1, 4.21 ERA) vs. TBA

Jacob deGrom makes his first start after hamstring spasms forced him out after two innings. The poor start dropped him back in the Cy Young race, but two more great starts from deGrom could do plenty to get him his third straight Cy Young. Also, the Mets need a great start out of him as he tries to contend with the tough Rays offense.

Injuries were not the cause of reason for Seth Lugo’s last start. Balls flew all around Citizens Bank Park, and it was evident his swing and miss stuff was non-existent. Despite the Mets winning the game, it put the rotation for game one against the Braves in shambles.

Rays Pitching Depth

The Rays pitching is one of the biggest reasons they are a World Series contender this season. They have a 3.66 ERA and rank second in the AL in strikeouts. Twelve different pitchers have started games for them, and the same amount have recorded saves. Manager Kevin Cash has weapons to use at any time and is not afraid to use them in big moments.

Young upstart Brandon Lowe is emerging into a start this season. He leads the Rays in all three triple crown stats, hitting .272 with 13 home runs and 33 runs batted in. Lowe also leads the Rays in hits, walks, runs, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage.

Key Stats

Blake Snell vs. Todd Frazier: 1-for-8 (.182), Walk, Strikeout

Michael Conforto during Wins in 2020: .419/.537/.756, 8 Doubles, 7 Home Runs, 15 Walks, 17 Strikeouts

Brandon Nimmo w/2-Out during 2020: .341/.400/.610, 3 Doubles, Triple, 2 Home Runs, 3 Walks, 5 Strikeouts

Jacob deGrom Career vs. Rays: 2 Starts, 1.88 ERA, 14.1 IP, 15 Strikeouts

 

New York Mets: Jacob deGrom is ‘good to go’ and will take the ball on Monday

New York Mets‘ ace Jacob deGrom received some great news this weekend, thinking about his chances of helping the team in its quest for a playoff spot and securing a third straight Cy Youn award in the National League.

The right-hander, who left his last start after just two innings with some issues on his hamstring, will be able to take the ball on Monday in a crucial game for the New York Mets against the AL East leaders Tampa Bay Rays.

If he was forced to miss time, deGrom’s chances of a third consecutive Cy Young would have virtually vanished. Thankfully, that will not be the case. The Mets will now have their ace for two more starts this season, which (they hope) will be a boon to their chances of taking one of the Wild Card spots. They are currently 2.5 games out of a place in October baseball.

The Mets will have their star pitcher back

By throwing bullpen sessions on Friday and Saturday at Citi Field, the Mets’ most prominent pitcher was declared ready for the last week of the 2020 regular season.

What he suffered was deemed as hamstring spams. He said he felt the ailment the start before the one in which he abandoned early.

“I talked to him and he said, ‘I’m good. I’m good,’” manager Luis Rojas said to MLB.com. “He’s good to go and he’s lined up for Monday.”

The New York Mets are counting on deGrom, who has a 2.09 ERA in 10 starts this year, to keep them in the game tomorrow and then over the weekend in Washington. As far as the Cy Young race is concerned, he will have to impress to boost his chances of winning, because Yu Darvish, Trevor Bauer and Max Fried have all been pitching very well recently.

The Mets will send Rick Porcello on Sunday, deGrom on Monday, and Seth Lugo on Tuesday.

New York Mets: Here’s the latest update on Jacob deGrom’s health

New York Mets, Jacob deGrom

The New York Mets came back from the dead and turned a 4-0 deficit into a 5-4 victory against the Philadelphia Phillies last night. Had the Mets lost, their chances of advancing to the postseason would have been severely damaged. But they won, and while they aren’t in particularly good shape, they are still alive.

Jacob deGrom, the New York Mets’ ace and Cy Young Award candidate, had to leave yesterday’s start after just two innings while dealing with a right hamstring spasm. The issue sounds minor, but it is not 100% confirmed that he will be able to make his next scheduled start.

After leaving the mound in the second inning at Citizens Bank Park, he had a chat with the Mets’ trainer and, together with pitching coach Jeremy Hefner, decided that it wasn’t worth risking his hamstring. DeGrom threw a water bottle to the ground in frustration.

He conceded three runs in his two innings. But the best part of the night is that the Mets ended up winning the ballgame.

“That’s big,” deGrom said to Anthony DiComo of MLB.com. “That’s definitely disappointing on my part, but what those guys did … is impressive. We’ve got to do that this year to the end of every game and to the end of the season to try to get in the playoffs.”

It was rookie Andres Gimenez the one that had the golden hit in the ninth frame, one that allowed the Mets to take their first lead of the night.

“Obviously, Jake going out was a big hit,” Davis said. “There wasn’t necessarily a sense of urgency, but a calmness.”

The Mets need him in one piece

The Mets absolutely need Jacob deGrom healthy to have a shot at making the playoffs.

“The back of my leg felt like it was starting to grab a little bit,” deGrom said. “It kept doing it. Once they were aware of it — I didn’t tell them about Buffalo until today — they said, ‘Hey, there’s no reason to try to push through this and hurt something.’”

The Mets will perform some tests on deGrom’s hamstring in the next couple of days to determine the next course of action.

New York Mets: deGrom Exits Early, Gimenez Gets Big Hit in 5-4 Win

New York Mets, Andres Gimenez

Wednesday night’s matchup between the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies featured a matchup of two longtime teammates. Jacob deGrom and Zack Wheeler faced each other for the first time, but Wheeler lasted a lot longer than back-to-back Cy Young winner did. For the Mets, if they wanted any hope at a postseason birth, they needed a victory.

From the beginning, it set up like another disappointing Mets loss. They went down 4-0 early, deGrom only lasted two innings, and their offense struggled against Wheeler. The Mets overcame all of that to pick up a huge 5-4 victory to move within 1.5 games of the Phillies. 

From the second pitch of the game, it was evident deGrom was dealing with some issue. deGrom sent glares towards the dugout, trying to let them know something was not right. After giving up three runs in the second, he did not make it back out for the third. deGrom left the game with right hamstring spasms and was visibly frustrated in the dugout.

Wacha to the Rescue

Michael Wacha gave the Mets everything they could have asked for when called into long relief duty. He gave the Mets four innings and held the Phillies to one run and kept the Mets in the game. Wacha worked around some trouble, allowing five hits, but his performance cannot go overlooked.

The comeback started with a simple Robinson Cano ground out, making it a 4-1 game. J.D. Davis made it a 4-3 game with a two-run opposite-field off Wheeler. As the game move into the late innings, Davis left his mark on this game.

With Michael Conforto on first base, his double tied the game in the eighth inning. The ball hung in the air forever, and it just made it over the glove of the leaping Adam Haseley. Conforto also had no clue on the number of outs, which made the play at the plate closer than it should have been.

Clutch Bullpen

In the bottom half of the eighth, Miguel Castro stranded runners on first and second with back to back strikeouts to move the game to the ninth inning. The Phillies made a couple of mistakes in the ninth inning to benefit the Mets. With a runner on first, Hector Neris balked to move the runner to second base.

They decided to intentionally walk Jeff McNeil to set up Andres Gimenez in his biggest spot with the Mets. The rookie came through to line a single to center field, giving the Mets a 5-4 lead. Edwin Diaz worked around a base hit to strike out three batters and pick up his biggest save of the season.

The Mets send Seth Lugo to the mound for the rubber game of this three-game series. Aaron Nola opposes him at Citizens Bank Park for the 7:05 p.m. ET start.

 

New York Mets Series Preview: Philadelphia Phillies (9/15-9/17)

New York Mets, Luis Rojas

The last New York Mets series preview against the Philadelphia Phillies, at the time, was the most important series of the season. This three-game series has the same importance times ten as there are only two weeks left in the season. The Mets are 2.5 games behind the Phillies for the first wild card spot and two games behind the San Francisco Giants for the second spot.

Probable Pitching Matchups

Tuesday, (9/15) @ 7:05 p.m. ET: Rick Porcello (1-4, 6.07 ERA) vs. Jake Arrieta (3-4, 5.54 ERA)

Wednesday, (9/16) @ 7:05 p.m. ET: Jacob deGrom (4-1, 1.67 ERA) vs. TBD

Thursday, (9/17) @ 7:05 p.m. ET: Seth Lugo (2-3, 2.63 ERA) vs. TBD

Over the last 24 hours, you cannot talk about the Mets without the fantastic news of Steve Cohen signing an agreement to own 95% of the franchise. If the Mets do not make the playoffs, at least knowing Cohen is all but certain to own the team alleviates the pain.

Win or Go Home

The first game should get the same treatment a game seven would. Rick Porcello has struggled to find consistency all season and must have a short leash in game one. With Jacob deGrom and Seth Lugo following Porcello, it gives the Mets the best chance to win no matter who they face. Most likely, they will face Aaron Nola at some point in the series as well.

Beating Jake Arrieta is no easy task. He compiled two solid starts in a row, with the first coming against the Mets. As always, the ultimate goal is getting to the bullpen early in the game. It is a major Achilles heel for the Phillies, and Arrieta throws a lot of pitches early in the game, which helps the Mets cause.

With all the disappointment flooding the Mets season, they still have an opportunity to erase that during this series. Winning two is a must; three is a dream, and anything less spells the end of their season. The Phillies are the last opponent they play, which allows them to move up in the wild card hunt with victories automatically.

Stats to Lookout For

Rick Porcello vs. Didi Gregorious: 7-for-43 (.163), 2 Doubles, 2 Home Runs, 3 Walks, 7 Strikeouts

Jake Arrieta vs. Robinson Cano: 6-for-34 (.176), 2 Doubles, 4 Walks, 7 Strikeouts

Jake Arrieta vs. Jeff McNeil: 13-for-23 (.565), Double, Home Run, Strikeout

Jacob deGrom vs. Bryce Harper: 11-for-36 (.306), 2 Doubles, 2 Home Runs, 8 Walks, 12 Strikeouts