Jacob deGrom: Does Greatness Now Mean You Must Be Cheating?

Jacob deGrom - A Pitcher's Pitcher

Jacob deGrom is pitching as though he descended from another planet. Have we come to the point where his greatness assumes he’s a cheater?

Jacob deGrom is dominating every game he pitches in, and for that, will it be his lot to be dragged with the undertow into baseball’s latest cheating scandal – pitchers using illegal “sticky stuff” to gain an advantage over hitters?

I, for one, will explode with rage the first time I see the name deGrom anywhere associated with pitchers “rumored” to be cheating.

Jacob deGrom: Don’t Even Think It

First off, let’s get the facts straight.

Pitchers who load up with the “sticky stuff” use it to get a better grip on the ball, thus enabling a greater spin rate, which in turn causes the wild movement on pitches we see this year.

Now, get this. On his four-seam fastball, Jacob deGrom ranks 155th in all of baseball in spin rate. His curveball ranks him with 232 pitchers having a higher spin rate, while his slider has deGrom behind 211 pitchers with more spin on the pitch. (Source: Statcast Baseball Savant)

Case Closed.

Jacob deGrom Two Cy Youngs and Counting (SB Nation)
Jacob deGrom Two Cy Youngs and Counting (SB Nation)

Jacob deGrom dominates hitters because he’s smarter than they are, and he works at his craft with an intensity and dedication that brings him all the success he enjoys.

Jacob deGrom is a pitcher, not a thrower. Every pitch has a purpose and seldom do you see him “waste” a pitch when he is ahead in the count.

Moreover, deGrom keeps a book on hitters in his head, and he doesn’t need a cheat sheet in his back pocket like outfielders these days, so they know where to set up for each opposing batter.

Jacob deGrom’s game is exactly what Yogi Berra meant when he said that baseball is 90% mental and the other half is physical, except that deGrom not only capitalizes on the mental aspect of baseball but also pitching mechanics.

deGrom’s makeup and personality don’t suit it, but I’d love to see him ask umpires to search him for illegal substances before and after every inning he pitches.

Jacob deGrom: Greatness In Our Midst

Nevertheless, deGrom’s Mets teammates have felt a need to defend him, with Kevin Pillar offering, “I’d bet my paycheck on it that he doesn’t use anything. He might be from a different planet though”.

Similarly, Tomas Nido, who catches every pitch deGrom throws,  saying hitters would be “lucky to even foul tip the ball” if deGrom used anything illegal.

Regrettably, the weight of this cheating episode in baseball recalls memories of what we saw during the Steroid Era when players became fodder for barstool arguments about who’s dirty and who’s not, without any evidence either way to offer.

In another scenario, Pete Rose swore up and down for years he never bet on baseball, only to “come clean” in a money-making book that was ghost-written for him.

MLB is hoping, and I am as well, that the threat of fines and suspensions will be enough to act as a deterrent, at least for the cheating pitchers who need a paycheck to pay the mortgage.

Jacob deGrom pitches tonight against the visiting San Diego Padres, who are in for a weekend series at Citi Field.

Behold, we have greatness is in our midst. Let ‘er rip, Jake.

Here’s What Readers Are Saying…

Stephen Steele It could mean cheating except Degrom’s spin rates has remained consistent throughout his career, unlike other pitchers who have seen sharp, inexplicable upticks in spin rates. DeGrom’s increased velocity points more toward mechanics. You’ll see slight changes to his mechanics each year that more likely explain the velocity increase. In my opinion, we are witnessing a person who has mastered his craft. It doesn’t happen very often.

Ellen Clancy Absolutely NO ONE except a guy on Twitter says or believes that about Jake. When that tweet/clip went up, players from various teams reputed it, some laughing at the guy, others angry. Not even worth discussing.

Rich Toth I don’t think so, He had a lot of great teachers. Pedro on the changeup. Author’s Note: Rich raises a good point mentioning the changeup that has become a main weapon not only for deGrom but for many others – and – what does spin rate have to do with the changeup??

Susan Franciscovich What is it with these Twitter people. It’s disrespectful enough on Facebook. I blocked 3 idiots the other day. When I was growing up if we’d even intimated some words our heads would’ve rolled as Henry Vlll ordered. Truly shameful.

Niko Rivera That might explain the recent “UFO” sightings…lol
Mark Anthony Ramirez You hit on everything except how in tune he is with his body and mechanics. If you listen to him, he always mentions little things about his mechanics, which for his body type he has perfected at this point. His mechanics are what allow him to throw so hard, but with control. Also keeping his arm angle the same on all his pitches adds to his deception. When you add the ten-mile and sometimes 12 to 15-mile difference between his fastball and his breaking pitches it’s no wonder he dominates. Excellent focus, excellent command, changing speeds, movement in the strike zone, and he holds himself accountable for each and every pitch so that he learns from his mistakes. He’s just at another level right now.
Christopher Wos How does any sticky substance help you throw a baseball 100+ mph?

Hsin-Yuan Huang

Christopher Wos It doesn’t. I have been saying that a couple of times already. Sticky stuff is to increase the spin rate so that it gets more movement. It’s the Bernoulli’s principle. To throw that fast and with that kind of accuracy and seemingly effortlessly by a slender person, that’s all mechanics. Can only be achieved by all body parts working in unison and repeated over and over. Sticky stuff is not going to help you to throw 102 in the first inning and 100 in the 8, 9th innings.

Ravi Singhal Steve Contursi As far as I know, there has been no evidence presented to show that deGrom is a cheater. Until such time, we should assume that he is not cheating and is great in his own right! LGM!!! Author’s Note: Agreed and I hope the tone in my article suggested that.

Gerald Garcia They can watch him all they want maybe they’ll learn technique or form watching my boy pitch. He mastered his craft now enjoy the Show and stop Hating on Degrominator!!!💯🤔🧐

Regretfully, I’m closing off published comments for this post. Keep ‘em coming though – after all – that’s what this is all about.

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Author: stevecontursi

I am an amateur writer with a passion for baseball and all things Yankees and Mets.