deGrom is worthy of NL Cy Young
At a time where the Mets are irrelevant in the baseball world and in New York’s conscience, Mets ace Jacob deGrom has given a reason to watch them every fifth day when he starts.
Not only he makes the Mets entertaining by pitching well, but he is in pursuit of getting his first National League Cy Young Award of his career. He is a candidate along with Washington Nationals starter Max Scherzer and Philadelphia Phillies starter Aaron Nola for the award.
deGrom is a slight favorite to win it, but he is going to have to get double-digit wins for him to seal the deal. He is now three wins away from getting that magic number after he had his seventh win of the season in the Mets’ 8-5 victory over the Yankees Monday night at Yankee Stadium.
It may look like a cinch for him to get three wins, but he knows better than to think it’s automatic. Yes, he will pitch well, but the Mets are capable of not giving him run support that would make him lose the game and their bullpen could blow wins for him. That has been the case all season, which is why he has seven wins instead of 13 and why he is not a slam dunk to get the award.
There are some baseball writers that actually will use wins to make their case to vote for that candidate. In this case, that could be Scherzer winning the award because he is five wins away from getting 20 wins, not to mention he leads the National League for innings pitched with 168 2/3, strikeouts with 227 and a WHIP of 0.883.
Here’s where deGrom makes his case: In his last 21 consecutive starts, he gave up three earned runs or less. To show you how hard it is, not even Bob Gibson accomplished that.
Not only does he lead the ERA in the NL, but he leads Major League Baseball with a 1.81 ERA. That should matter more than just the number of wins to award a Cy Young Award to a pitcher.
Here’s another one: His Tuesday night start was his 16th straight quality start. He has now struck out 10 or more seven times this season, including striking out 12 Yankees over 6 ⅔ innings. He only gave up four runs once this season against the Miami Marlins on April 10.
Plus, he leads the NL in ERA + of 208, FIP of 2.13, a HR/9 of 0.5, so he has that going for him.
deGrom strengthened his case to win the award by doing well despite not having great stuff on Monday night. As the Yankees usually do, they made him work by fouling off pitches after pitches, and it paid off when they tied the game at two in the third inning, but he found a way to get them out by getting much-needed strikeouts.
It wasn’t dominating and pretty. But this is what makes great pitchers so great, which is the ability to find a way to do well despite not having their best stuff. deGrom had to grind his way through a win. This is another reason he has a case to win the Cy Young Award.
deGrom has been so good for the last four years, not to mention he has been durable in a sport that features starting pitchers having Tommy John surgery. While most of the Mets young starters have disappointed, he has been the only one that has shined through year after year.
Amazingly enough, this may be the best year he ever had, and he has had good years prior to this year. The difference is he has been hard to hit and giving up three or less runs in his last 21 consecutive starts speaks for itself.
From the eye test itself, he should win the Cy Young Award. He has been better than Scherzer and Nola when watching all three starters pitch this season.
deGrom finally admitted he wants to win the pitcher’s prestigious award after Monday night’s game. It was refreshing that he said it after having this poppycock claim that he has not thought about it all season. He is a competitor, and he is one of the best in his profession, so of course, he wants to win the award. No one ever believed that it was not a big deal for him.
On a night that deGrom gave up three runs (two earned) on five hits while striking out 12 Yankees, he is making a case for himself. He certainly made an impression with ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian, who campaigned for the Mets ace to be the Cy Young Award winner on the nationally televised game.
The last time a starter won the Cy Young despite a modest record was once- Seattle Mariners ace Felix Hernandez in 2010. He was going up against once-Tampa Bay Rays star David Price and Yankees starter CC Sabathia, and that was a tough race since his competitors had good seasons like him, especially Sabathia having 21 wins. What helped Hernandez was he led the majors with a 2.27 ERA, led the AL in innings with 249 ⅔ and held AL opponents to the lowest batting average of 2.12. Of course, it helped Hernandez won 13 games despite losing 12 games, so yes, wins have to play a role of some sort.
This should be encouraging for deGrom. Quality starts and league-leading ERA could help his case to win the Cy Young. In a sport now where sabermetrics is valued by the voters, he should like his chances.
To be sure that he can win the award, he needs to hit the magic number of 10 wins.
That itself is a reason to watch the Mets in the final six weeks of what has been a season to forget.