I hate being the bearer of bad news — especially to a team that hasn’t had a lot to be optimistic about for a long time — but the New York Mets rookie sensation Jacob deGrom has been getting lucky. Actually, the word “lucky” is sugarcoating it. There are an abundance of conspicuous alarming trends that we’ll delve into momentarily, and a shaky minor-league track-record insinuating deGrom’s success will not be able to persist — at least not at this rate.
A 1.83 ERA is nothing short of incredible, and that’s exactly what deGrom has unexpectedly posted in three stupendous starts. However, the way he’s composed such a mind-boggling number is unconventional to say the least. He is striking hitters (6.41 K/9) out at a mediocre rate, walking batters (4.58 BB/9) at a baffling rate considering he’s only allowed four runs, and it’s not like fly balls aren’t getting out of the park as he has given up three long balls (1.37 HR/9) already. The following peripherals have to be disconcerting for the team and fans alike. You’re not going to get away with that forever, obviously, and those numbers typically better play in Triple-A.
He’s left 100 percent of runners on base, and opposing hitters have churned an underwhelming .200 BABIP (batting average on balls in play) off him. Both are very much unsustainable. As he continues his journey in the majors, those numbers will more than likely deviate towards the MLB average of a 73.1% LOB% and .294 BABIP.
Now, it varies with every pitcher, but judging from his last season in different levels of the Mets’ organization, it’s apparent he’s a guy whose BABIP allowed tends to hover around the low-to-mid .300s. Below is a chart of deGrom’s performance throughout different levels of the minors last year.
Single-A+- In 12 innings, he compiled a 3.00 ERA and 2.91 FIP with a .333 BABIP
Double-A- In 60 innings, he compiled a 4.80 ERA and 3.82 FIP with a .340 BABIP
Triple-A- In 75 and 2/3 innings, he compiled a 4.52 ERA and 3.93 FIP with a .342 BABIP
The following chart proves two things. One, being what we’ve been discussing about BAPIP. And two, the chart clearly shows the struggles he encountered in the minor-leagues. It’s a much more viable sample size to judge, so this begs the question; is this a better reflection of what type of pitcher deGrom really is?
Currently, the right-handed pitcher has posted a poor 5.14 FIP in 19 and 2/3 innings. It’ll be interesting to see how deGrom fares against the Philadelphia Phillies today. Will his “luck” finally catch up to him? Or, will he continue to dazzle and prove analytic trends only mean so much?