Jun 18, 2019

Jacob deGrom (Part Two) The 2018 Cy Young Season & Beyond

In Spring Training of 2018 all the news was about deGrom cutting his famous hair. Usually his sister, a former hairdresser would trim his long hair at their parents house in DeLand Florida, at Spring Training. This year he decided it was time for a change & it made headlines.

But on the mound, Jacob deGrom would make 2018 one of the Mets best ever pitching seasons, matching the days of Dwight Gooden & Tom Seaver.

deGrom finished with a NL leading ERA of 1.70 putting him as the 11th qualified starter with an ERA of 1.70 or lower in the last 100 years. That's the 11th best ERA in the majors in the last century. 

Since the mound was lowered in 1969 he is just the third pitcher to have at least 30 starts, toss 210 innings & post a 1.70 ERA. Dwight Gooden posted a 1.53 ERA in 1985 with 276 innings, the other is Zack Greinke. 

At Citi Field he posted a 1.54 ERA & on the road his 1.87 ERA led all pitchers with at least 75 innings of work. In September he posted his third straight month of an ERA below two & his worst month of the year was June where he posted a 2.36 ERA.

He also set an MLB record, with the longest single season streak of starts (29 straight) where a pitcher allowed  three runs or less. Another record set was having his last 24 starts all being quality starts. It is also the third longest quality start streak in history.

He struck out 269 batters (second most in the NL). In Mets history, his 269 strikeouts were the fourth most ever for a Mets pitcher. His 11.157 strike outs per nine innings was also second best in the NL.

 His base on balls per 9 innings(1.908) was the leagues third best. He was also second with 217 innings pitched.

The two best single season strike out performances came from Tom Seaver who posted 289 Ks in 1971 & 283 in 1970. Next was Dwight Gooden's 276 Ks in 1985. 

In 2018 deGrom also reached the 1000th career strike out mark, making him the fastest Met to reach that milestone (897 innings).

deGrom had also allowed just 10 HRs & no more that one in any start of 2018. 

In the modern era, he is the only pitcher to post an ERA below 2.00 have 260+ Ks with 50 or fewer walks & allow 10 HRs or less.

Unfortunately he lacked run support from a terrible Mets offense. So with wins he just went 10-9, in a season where he led the NL with 13 starts in which a pitcher went at least seven innings & allowed no more than one run. In those starts he was credited with just five wins!

deGrom becomes the fourth Met pitcher to win a Cy Young Award & it's the sixth time a Met hurler has had the honor. Tom Seaver has three to his credit (1969-1973-1975), Dwight Gooden (1985) & R.A. Dickey (2012) the others.

In the 2019 off season, deGrom's agent Brodie Van Wagen became the teams General Manager. Instead of a long dragged out contract negotiation, the Mets gave him the largest raise any arbitration eligible player ever got. deGrom got a $137.5 million five year, contract extension with an option for 2024.

2019: With excitement starting out the 2019 season, deGrom got his first Opening Day start. On March 28th, he started out where he left off in 2018, pitching six shut out innings, striking out ten Nationals in the Mets 2-0 win. He walked just one allowing five hits. 

On April 3rd in Miami, he pitched seven shut out innings, striking out 14 Marlins while walking one & giving up three little hits. deGrom started out the season at 2-0.

From there on, he had three terrible outings, taking losses in all three games, like a deGrom no one had ever seen before. On April 9th he gave up six runs on eight hits, including three HRs to the Minnesota Twins. 

Next the Braves got him for three runs in five innings, with two more HRs in a 7-3 Met loss. He did strike out nine.

It was feared that he may have injured his elbow on his throwing arm.  

Quotes- Jacob deGrom: "It was just a little sore, I had been sick since Atlanta, kind of had a whole body soreness. For me when I don't throw, it seems things pop up. I wasn't on my normal routine. I was trying to just get enough in to be able to make my starts & I just felt a little soreness in my elbow. I decided to say something."

He felt fine, was checked out fine by doctors, no MRI needed & he was taken off the IL.

But in his next start, the Brewers pounded him for five runs over four innings, as he ended April 2-3 with a 4.85 ERA.

In May, he began by pitching a fine seven innings of shut out ball in Cincinnati to start out the month on Mat 1st. But the anemic Mets offense couldn't muster up any offense & he took a no decision in a 1-0 Met loss.

On May 6th, he took another loss as the Padres shut out New York in San Diego 4-0. deGrom fell to a lowly 2-4.

On May 11th he recorded his first victory in over a month, as he beat the Marlins at Citi Field 4-1. He allowed one run on five hits while striking out eight. 

But on May 17th, his next start, the Marlins got him for seven runs & nine hits over just five innings, leading to loss #five. 

On May 22nd he had catcher Tomas Nido behind the plate & it resulted in just two runs allowed over six innings. In games where Nido was catching him his ERA was 0.67 & games where his battery mate was Wilson Ramos, his ERA was 5.33. The Mets won the game 6-1 over the Nats in Citi Field, but deGrom got no decision.

As the Mets went west for a Memorial Day game against the Dodgers in L.A., Nido was back behind the plate. deGrom went through five innings leaving with a 3-2 lead against Clayton  Kershaw. But the Mets bullpen blew that & it lead to another Mets loss.

Through May 2019 Jacob deGrom's career stats: In his six year career he has gone 58-46 with a 2.74 ERA. He has 1077 strike outs with 240 walks & 85 HRs allowed in 960 innings pitched in 150 starts.

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