Jacob deGrom surprised no one last night when he pitched seven masterful innings. A craftsman in complete control of himself, we are witnessing something extraordinary…
Jacob deGrom is in the process of nailing down his second consecutive Cy Young Award. Ignore the gold standard yearly performance by Max Scherzer and the sensational season Mike Soroka is having as a rookie with the Atlanta Braves. Hung-Jin Ryu is wearing down as well.
And for heaven’s sake, don’t pay any attention to that dinosaur pitching stat – their won-loss record. Today, it’s about what Met’s manager Mickey Callaway has coined, the “peripheral.” More on that in a minute, but first a look at the stats we are more accustomed to for deGrom this season.
Before last night’s start which only served to improve these numbers, deGrom’s 6.3 WAR ranked first among NL pitchers, according to Baseball-Reference.com, along with his 231 strikeouts. DeGrom’s .610 opponents’ OPS ranked second, and he was third in WHIP at 1.03. He was fourth with a 2.70 ERA, and his 183 innings pitched ranked fifth.
With Jacob deGrom, There’s More Than Stats
But there are gems hidden beneath the surface. SNY’s telecast last night was particularly good at uncovering them. For instance, we were informed that deGrom has allowed only one run in 46 percent of his starts over 2018-2019. Just take a moment to process that feat.
The boys in the booth stayed hot. Referring to an interview they had done with pitching coach Phil Regan, Regan laid out a cascade of tidbits about deGrom that even Keith Hernandez and Gary Cohen never knew.
First and foremost, Regan pointed to deGrom’s strict adherence to a routine on days he is scheduled to pitch. All pitchers have a routine, but how many of them watch the clock at Citi Field until it strikes precisely 6:45 pm before they throw a ball to begin their warmup?
How many pitchers throw the exact same number of pitches during their bullpen warmup?
Are there pitchers other than deGrom make a point of throwing every pitch to the outside part of the plate during their warmup – and get upset with themselves if they miss on just one?
This is Jacob deGrom – the perfectionist. The man with an idea behind every pitch he throws during a game. DeGrom is also the pitcher, by the way, who hurled seven shutout innings against a Dodgers team first in runs scored and home runs in the National League. And he did it with Wilson Ramos catching him (hello, Noah Syndergaard), rather than his preferred catcher, Tomas Nido.
Those are a few of the peripheral Callaway was alluding to when he unabashedly endorsed deGrom for the Cy Young:
Back-To-Back Cy Young Awards?
Case closed? Well, not quite. Soroka, Scherzer, and even Hyun-Jin Ryu, who rebounded himself last night after three so-so starts, all have liens on the Cy Young. Themselves.
Remember too, the Cy Young, unlike the MVP voting which is weighted, is a straight-up by select members of the Baseball Writer’s Association of America (BWAA).
deGrom is an exceptional talent who is performing at a high level for the second straight year in New York City. deGrom deserves to become only the tenth pitcher to win the award in back-to-back seasons…