Jacob deGrom: How Low Will The HOF Go In Win Total To Vote Him In

Jacob deGrom: Behold - Greatness In Our Time (NY Times)

Will Jacob deGrom have the distinction of having the fewest wins for a starting pitcher in the Hall Of Fame? With 70 wins now, it could happen.

Including this season, Jacob deGrom has four years left on a contract with the Mets that will bring him to age 36.

Jacob deGrom’s eight seasons with the Metropolitans have produced 70 wins; an average your calculator will tell us is less than nine wins per season.

Let’s go crazy and say that deGrom will average twenty wins a year for those four seasons, bringing him to 150 career wins.

Jacob deGrom Can’t Help It If He Pitches For The Mets.

Now before you say it, I will. Jacob deGrom pitches for the New York Mets, who have a habit of not finishing his superb starts, leaving him with a no-decision.

Typical was deGrom in his first start of the year in Philadelphia when he left the game after six innings with a 2-0 lead. All the Mets needed to do was hold the lead, or heaven forbid, pad the lead to give their ace a well-deserved win. Not to be, deGrom goes home empty again.

Tell Me, Tell Me – How Many Wins Did He Have

Now, a caveat about the Baseball Hall Of Fame (HOF) first. For starting pitchers, career win totals are the barometer to get in.

Early Wynn: A Compiler who reached the magic HOF number
Early Wynn: A Compiler who reached the magic HOF number

Long ago, 300 was the magic win total, and as long as a pitcher reached that mark – he’s in – even in the case of someone like Early Wynn who tried umpteen times to get that #300, finishing at 300-244 with a not so impressive 3.54 ERA.

With the money in today’s game, the ever-increasing number of arm injuries, a grueling schedule, and a manager’s love affair with his bullpen, chances are better Jennifer Lopez, and Alex Rodriguez will make up, reunite and spend the rest of their lives in wondrous bliss than we’ll see another 300 game-winner.

In recent HOF voting, we’ve seen acceptance of the above and probable fact, with the election of Jim Palmer (268), Catfish Hunter (224), Pedro Martinez (219), Bob Gibson (251), Sandy Koufax (165), and Whitey Ford (236).

Still, for Jacob deGrom, the haunting question remains – how low will the HOF go in win total to make way for his election?

The writers with the privilege to vote on who gets in or not have been known to be rather prickly in their judgments, especially among the predominantly older writers, many of whose last published piece on baseball was more than a decade ago.

So, what will they do with Jacob deGrom, who more realistically will end his career somewhere between 125-150 career wins, assuming he retires at age 36 to live off the $157 million he earned in his last contract?

Jacob deGrom And Why Win Totals Are Moot

It’s a moot point for myself and presumably others, and deGrom should be a shoo-in for the HOF even if he retires next year.

What should be and what is are often two different animals. It seems to me that the main criteria for the HOF election should be, did this player dominate his peers over multiple consecutive seasons?

The Left Hand Of God - Sandy Koufax Photo Credit: ESPN
The Left Hand Of God – Sandy Koufax Photo Credit: ESPN

Arguably, there isn’t a better starting in baseball today (a bow to Gerrit Cole and Shane Bieber) than Jacob deGrom. Check that he is the best and most dominant force in the National League over the past three seasons.

Without the headline glaring no-hitters, deGrom mirrors the dominance we saw from Sandy Koufax (1962-1966) when he threw twenty-seven complete games during each of his last two seasons before retiring due to painful arthritis.

The numbers in the table below tell his story (bold type=League leader):

Koufax 1962-1966 (Source: Baseball-Reference)
Koufax 1962-1966 (Source: Baseball-Reference)

Jacob deGrom By The Numbers

Jacob deGrom’s story has yet to be completely written, but the salient point has to be – does anyone in the National League feel comfortable stepping into the box against him, and is he not one of the true aces in the game today?

Need more? Okay, take a look back at deGrom’s twelve starts last year, and see if there is just one in which he gave up more than three runs.

Take it back to his 2019 season, when on May 17, he surrendered six runs in a loss to the Marlins, but follow the chart down from there, and you’ll see a streak that lasted to the end of the season in which he gave up four runs or less while finishing the year with his last three starts allowing no runs.

This is the mark of consistency and dominance over a substantial period of time.

Looking Ahead

We’re way ahead of ourselves here, and it might be wiser to sit back and enjoy the pitching marvel we see whenever Jacob deGrom takes the hill.

In 2024 when deGrom qualifies for free agency, it’ll be interesting to see if he does so or not. His decision will not be a matter of money due to his foresight, including $52 million in deferred money that ends when he’s a grandad in a rocking chair at age 54.

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

Instead, deGrom’s decision will be based on how much the HOF means to him and whether he wants to join the growing list of “compilers” in the Hall who stay on padding their numbers even in the face of declining skills.

More likely, there will be pressure on Steve Cohen and the Mets to sign Jacob deGrom to a two-year guaranteed and deferred contract in 2024 with the expectation that he will pitch on a year-to-year basis a reward for his contribution to the team and the city of New York.

Five years later, it’ll be up to the Baseball Writers Association Of America (BWAA) and its 397 members to determine if Jacob deGrom is worthy of election to the Hall.

All hell should break loose among baseball fans who know greatness when they see it, whether deGrom finishes with 100, 125, or whatever number of wins.

Here’s What Readers Are Saying…

Maybe if he throws more than 77 pitches a game he’ll win some games.
Jeffrey BelyeaOuch – guess you are not a fan.
what about the defense? pretty pitiful so far.
He’ll certainly be the best HOF candidate among starting pitchers with such a low total of wins.
My prediction would be yes: he’ll be elected to the HOF and that he won’t have caught Koufax’s win total.
By the time he retires, the HOVG will be accepting pitchers with 150W and 1,500 Ks. And that’s a true story.
If he has a really low win total he will not get in unless he has 5 or 6 Cy awards.
I don’t think nowadays they’ll hold that against him. A couple of decades ago I think it’d definitely be possible. A few most likely will, no more than ~15, but don’t think that’s enough with the voting total to make a big difference. Especially when it’s very possible ~92+% of the others will probably vote him in I think.
It only makes a difference if there’s a chance he could get in unanimously….which I think is a legit argument if he continues to pitch as he has.
Steve Contursi
I’m a big Degrom fan. I just hate the lack of run support he gets in his starts.
I’m getting so frustrated for deGrom. Even if he’s not frustrated with it. It’s frustrating to the fans. He’s been so gosh dang awesome, and RARELY gets run support. I can’t imagine him wanting to keep playing for a team like this. Please Mets players, concentrate on that ball when you’re up. 14 strikeouts with a one-run high fastball. Granted the other pitcher was outstanding, and deGrom is usually up against another team’s best, but dang it METS! Run support for your ace, will only help yourselves. Please! He’ll want to leave and play with winners if you don’t develop and soon.


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Steve Contursi
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Author: stevecontursi

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