Jacob deGrom is having one of the best seasons that a New York Mets starter has ever had. There’s just one strange wrinkle to his year.
There is little question as to whom the unquestioned ace of the New York Mets‘ pitching staff is anymore.
After seeing the Mets’ Fab Five dwindle to a Fantastic Four after the unceremonious sending-off of Matt Harvey in May (traded to the Reds for Devin Mesoraco), the group of Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler, and Steven Matz are all that remain.
This season, these four have organically created separation between themselves among the starters’ hierarchy, with deGrom and Syndergaard (when healthy) leading the way, with Wheeler and Matz (currently on the DL but expected to make his next start) fortifying the back-end of the rotation
There have been highs and lows for every one of these hurlers. Syndergaard has a sub-3.00 earned-run average but has also hit the disabled list twice, once with a double-take-inducing diagnosis of hand, foot, and mouth disease.
Wheeler has been phenomenal, shaking off any rust from his two-year injury-induced sabbatical, and drew a fair share of interest at the trade deadline, with the Mets choosing to keep the 28-year-old in the fold considering he’s still arbitration eligible for another season and is just starting to hit his stride.
Matz, 27, has been inconsistent, at best, this year. He dodged a bullet this past week when an MRI revealed no structural damage in his left elbow after experiencing forearm tightness in his previous start.
Surely, these pitchers, show promise for the future of this staff and a dedication by the organization attempt to keep this core together. But the most valuable cog in this Mets rotation, by all accounts known to man, is 30-year-old right-hander Jacob deGrom.
Jacob deGrom’s mastery knows no bounds in 2018
The Stetson University grad currently leads all of MLB with his 1.85 ERA (next closest in the NL is Max Scherzer, 2.33) and his 2.29 fielding independent pitching rating leads the NL and is second to only Chris Sale of the Red Sox for best in baseball.
His 83.2 percent left-on-base percentage, 7.2 home run-to-fly ball ratio, and 5.4 wins above replacement are all best in the National League. deGrom should be a virtual lock for the NL Cy Young Award this year, right?
Well, not exactly. Among all of these impressive exploits is one stat, which to this writer means next-to-nothing anymore, that, for some reason, seems to be holding deGrom back as the undisputed best pitcher in baseball.
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An obsolete stat
The win-loss record was once revered as a tried-and-true measure of an MLB pitcher’s talent. Heck, in 1972, Steve Carlton went 27-10 with a 1.97 ERA for a Philadelphia Phillies team that lost nearly 100 games (59-97). That team scored just 3.22 runs per game.
Jacob deGrom has made 22 starts this season, owns a sparkling 1.85 ERA (as noted) for a team that is 44-62 and has scored 3.92 runs per game.
The difference? deGrom stands at 5-7 and has gotten nearly no run support this season. In those 22 starts, the Mets have scored just 34 runs for their ace.
So, does Jacob deGrom deserve to get a fair shake at the NL CYA with a win-loss record under .500 and a potential sub-2.00 ERA? Of course, he does! Whether the BBWAA voters feel the same way that this writer does is yet to be determined.