May 21, 2014; New York, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) reacts in the dugout after giving up two runs in the sixth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Jacob deGrom is getting lucky


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?

Tags: Jacob DeGrom

  • Aaron Heilman

    Fuck you Larry David that’s some bullshit!

  • that guy

    Well this article isnt credible since you said he is a southpaw, obviously havent been watching

    • Patrick Green

      Thanks for catching that. It’s been fixed. Watching the game right now actually.

    • Patrick Green

      Confusion stemmed because he hits left-handed. Watched his start against NYY and watching today. Other two games have coincided with Red Sox games, so I was unable to watch.

      • Kyle Orlowicz

        Your analysis is pretty superb, but one is left to wonder: Why would you not watch some tape before writing about this guy? Is this common practice for you?

        And he just gave up a 3-run homer.

        • Patrick Green

          Oh, I have. It’s just writing for three sites, editing, watching an abundance of games daily, school, personal life, spending time with family, I’ll miss something at times. Truthfully, this is the fourth article I’ve written today, and while I spend a lot of time researching stuff and watching tape, my mind is wrapped up in a million things. I go on Fangraphs and I look up and it says L/R. I’ll take responsibility for it, though.

  • stuff

    regardless of all the other mumbo jumbo you’ve been spitting he has a 1.83 ERA in his first few games in the majors, that deserves as much credit as possible. No he has not just been getting lucky, he’s been pitching very very well. GOOD DAY

    • Patrick Green

      Did I say it didn’t?

  • Slate

    6 K’s in 4 innings isn’t lucky. The kid has talent.

    • Patrick Green

      Stupendous start thus far. He’s locating his fastball well and using his changeup appropriately.

    • Jason

      He never said deGrom didn’t have talent. All I saw were the facts, and his impressions of those facts.

  • nymetswinws

    Gonna eat your own words after today’s game, huh?

    • Patrick Green

      Yup. Ten strikeouts. I stand by it though. Not sure what the future holds, but he still has some alarming trends and a lot of starts to be made.

      • nymetswinws

        Go ahead and stand by it. It won’t stop him from proving you wrong. ;)

        • Patrick Green

          I hope he does. I root for all players. I just provided statistical analysis.

  • Selfi f

    Harvey’s triple A number was not dominant impressive. Sometimes, a player eager for big stage gets bored playing with Triple A players. Pretty reasonable to describe this type of player.

    • Patrick Green

      There’s veracity to that, but my main focus was on his alarming trends coming into the game.

      • http://selfif.com/ Selfi f

        it’s weird that I didn’t hear much talk about Degrom but Montero. To me Degrom is much more ready than Montero.

  • Jason

    Good analysis. It takes some guts to stand by what you really believe when it is unpopular, and I commend you for that. I agree that his LOB% and BABIP will have to regress, whether it is to the league average, or below, that will be determined. Also, before today’s game, his FIP of 5.14 is alarming, and is a huge indicator that his sub 2.00 ERA is bound to rise. I’m watching today’s game, however, and am impressed by his command and gnarly changeup. 10 K’s and only 1 BB today, even against a flat Phillies’ offense is pretty stunning.

    Anyway, nice write-up, and I’ll be watching to see how he pitches the rest of the season.

    • Patrick Green

      I really appreciate it, Jason.

  • SL

    Of all the stats that I detest, FIP is easily the worst. First, it penalizes pitchers for the well placed walk (think the unintentional intentional walk D Wright received today). Second, it penalizes pitchers who don’t strike out a lot of guys.
    In the “old” days, pitching to contact was considered a good thing.
    Will deGrom come back? Of course. But this is a kid who is still learning to pitch as he is a converted shortstop, and is actually using major league fielding, as opposed to the shoddy fielding in the minors.

    The fallacy of FIP can be seen in the fact that at the end of the season, if the stat is valid, EVERY pitcher should be within the statistical margin of error of their FIP with their actual ERA.

    I will say it again, the problem with ALL stats are that they are history, not future. They tell what happened, not what is going to happen.

    And again, as the ultimate proof of the absurdity of most defensive stats, just go look at Keith Hernandez’ career dWAR. NEGATIVE? Really? The greatest defensive first baseman of the last generation if not all time? Sure.

    • Patrick Green

      Defensive metrics are extremely flawed (https://twitter.com/PatGreen1998/status/472916891787599872), when did I even mention them in this article?

      Further, I never said he could not make adjustments for his prosperity to sustain (notice quotation marks around the word luck in the last paragraph), and I didn’t say it was unimpressive. The premise of this article was to point out the unconventionality of his success, and how, quintessentially, those numbers do not resonate into positive results.

      • SL

        Modern pitching metrics ARE defensive statistics.
        There is no indication that there is a return to league means as he has no history.
        Of the ‘modern” stats, WHIP is the most legitimate one, FIP is, frankly, useless for the reasons I stated earlier. WHIP has effectively been used for decades, but is really the same as Batting average against, and other “standard” stats.
        At this point there is no way of knowing what deGrom will become. However, as any scout can tell you, minor league performance is a relatively poor indicator of future success. It’s simply another reason why the current OVER dependence on Sabremetrics is dangerous to finding the best players.
        As I’ve pointed out, simply listening to Dave Hudgens the last week should point out why. He could cite chapter and verse on all the new stats regarding hitters, but you never once heard him try and break down a swing.
        Listen to Keith and that is the difference.
        The job of a GM and scouts is to predict the future. Stats only tell you the past.

  • GriffGC

    Whoa, only sharing what he did in 2013 is misleading. Don’t forget what he did at A and A+ ball in 2012: 9-3, 2.43 ERA, .0997 WHIP. And, more importantly, in 2014 at AAA in 38.1 IP over 7 starts: 4-0, 2.58 ERA, 1.28 WHIP.
    He clearly figured something out or just got more comfortable in AAA between 2013 and 2014 and it carried over into the big leagues. I hope it continues.

  • Nate Thomas

    Looks like someone is copying your thoughts………see link:

    http://metsblog.com/metsblog/degrom-has-pitched-well-but-may-be-getting-lucky/#comments