Appreciating Jacob deGrom

Tonight, Jacob deGrom won his second consecutive Cy Young award. It has solidified him as one of the greatest starting pitchers of his generation, and in Mets history. But as I watched Jacob win another Cy Young, I started to think about how I’ve been lucky enough to watch an all-time great Mets pitcher pitch every five days for the last six years.

As a Met fan, there isn’t much to cheer about sometimes. There’s a lot of losing,  heartbreak, embarrassment, sadness and frustration. Pretty much every sad adjective you can think of; that’s what it’s like being a Mets fan. So when we get something that warrants being cheered for, whether it’s a team, or a player, we hold onto that, because it doesn’t come often.

On May 12, 2014, the Mets promoted Jacob deGrom to the big leagues.

Now, deGrom wasn’t some hyped up prospect. He was called up to be a reliever. Heck, deGrom was a shortstop until his junior year of college. He had Tommy John surgery in 2010. He was an older prospect, almost 26 years of age when he was called up. He had a 3.62 ERA across four seasons in the minor leagues; not bad, but not overly impressive either. The Mets already had a ton of highly touted pitchers at the time: Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Noah Syndergaard, Rafael Montero, Steven Matz. Jacob deGrom was an afterthought.

But, the plan for deGrom to be a reliever changed when Dillon Gee was placed on the disabled list with an injury. He was inserted into the rotation. This led to Jacob making his big league debut on May 15, 2014, in a start against the New York Yankees. Little did we know, that would be the start of a special career.

deGrom lost that start, 1-0, but was  thoroughly impressive. He allowed 1 run in 7 innings that night. After that start, he remained in the Mets starting rotation and cruised to a National League Rookie of the Year award.

The next year, deGrom followed up his Rookie of the Year season, with an even better year. He was selected to his first all star game, where he struck out the side on ten pitches in his lone inning of work. He helped carry the Mets to a National League pennant, winning games 1 and 5 of the NLDS, and game 3 of the NLCS. Along the way, he beat the likes of two future hall of famers in Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke. On the road, no less.

2016 was an injury shortened year and 2017 was a down year by his standards, but Jacob deGrom’s 2018 season is one of the greatest seasons for a starting pitcher ever. He finished the season with a 1.70 ERA in 217 innings and 32 starts, making his second all-star game and winning his first CY Young.

Here are some tidbits on that historic season:

He became the 11th qualified starting pitcher in the last 100 years to finish a season with an 1.70 ERA or lower.

deGrom’s last 24 starts were all quality starts, the longest single-season streak in MLB history.

deGrom finished the season with 269 strikeouts, the fourth highest single-season strikeout total in Mets history.

He became the only pitcher since 1900 to have a sub-2 ERA, 260+ strikeouts, 50 or fewer walks and 10 or fewer home runs allowed in a single-season.

Now, lets come back to today, where deGrom just followed up that historic 2018 CY Young season with another CY Young in 2019, becoming the first Met ever to win the CY Young in back-to-back seasons and is now one of three pitchers ever to have two CY Youngs and a Rookie of the Year award (Tom Seaver, Justin Verlander).

Jacob deGrom’s career accomplishments:

2x NL CY Young (2018, 2019)

NL Rookie of the Year (2014)

3x All-Star (2015, 2018, 2019)

NL ERA title (2018)

NL strikeout leader (2019)

If I would have told you back on May 12, 2014, that Jacob deGrom would be better than Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Steven Matz, Noah Syndergaard, and Rafael Montero, what would you have told me?

We are watching a pitcher on a Hall of Fame path pitch at the very top of his game. Jacob deGrom is among the elite pitchers in baseball. He’s there with the Kershaw’s and Scherzer’s of the world. He’s the best pitcher on the planet right now, and the crazy part is, this is far from being over.

So I just want to say thank you to Jacob deGrom. Thank you for pouring your heart out for the Mets every time you’re on the mound, thank you for giving us fans a reason to watch even if the team isn’t doing well, and thank you for all the great moments you’ve given us throughout your career so far. I can’t wait to see what you have in store next year. Hopefully it includes a couple postseason starts.

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