DeGrom Could Earn A Permanent Rotation Spot

jacob degrom

Even though Jacob deGrom received his second loss in as many starts on Wednesday night, he’s also recorded two quality starts in that time as well. Sure, he has not been flawless in either start but he has certainly impressed.

DeGrom made his big league debut on May 15th, tossing seven innings and allowing just one earned run on four hits, while walking two and striking out seven. His second start looked a little less sexy in the box score but it was still one of quality nonetheless. In six innings, he allowed three earned runs on four hits, three of which were solo home runs by Adrian Gonzalez, Yasiel Puig and Hanley Ramirez in that order. He walked three and struck out four against Los Angeles.

In both of his big league starts this season, deGrom has shown the ability to get hitters out with a hard sinking fastball that sits at 92-94 mph throughout his entire outing and occasionally touches 95. He also mixes in an above average slider and changeup that work very well when he’s able to keep his fastball down.

Keeping the fastball down was a problem in his start against the Dodgers as he left one up to Adrian Gonzalez, who sent it well into the Pepsi porch. In all fairness, deGrom actually hit his target on the pitch, but Gonzalez being the exceptional hitter he is, went up and got it with ease. Puig’s home run came on a 91 mph fastball left over the heart of the plate and Ramirez’s on a hanging slider. DeGrom has shown pretty decent control in his brief tenure, just not sparkling command.

As I’m sure a lot of people know already, deGrom was a shortstop at Stetson University before he was converted to a pitcher. He then eventually underwent Tommy John surgery in 2011. Because of this, the 6’4”, 180 pound righthander has not accumulated the amount of experience a pitching prospect typically does before making their big league debut. With more time on the mound, it’s fair to believe he’ll improve his ability to locate pitches.

DeGrom was originally going to be called up to bolster the Mets ineffective bullpen but due to Dillon Gee’s lat strain, he would receive an opportunity to start. So far, he’s taken the opportunity and run with it as he’s shown the ability to make pitches in tough spots and not break down late in games. He’s even impressed more than Rafael Montero, who’s struggled with control in his first two big league starts; a problem he’s never had to face throughout his minor league career.

Montero’s struggles and deGrom’s success beg the question of who remains in the rotation when Dillon Gee returns. The Mets have always seen Montero with the ability to start and have been somewhat divided on deGrom’s future. But it looks as if the latter is making bigger strides out of the gates than expected. Will the Mets send Montero to the bullpen when Dillon Gee returns? Who knows? Should they send him to the bullpen? Maybe. One thing is for sure, though, deGrom certainly appears to have a future as a big league starter early on and to take away his opportunity after he’s seized it would be a questionable move. It’s probably too early to judge and make a determination, but that’s exactly what the Mets will have to do next week. Sometimes small sample sizes are all you get. That’s why GMs get paid the big bucks.

MMO

  • seldomused

    Montero struggled, but he was very poised in his first start. He also struggled when he made the jump to AAA but eventually settled down hit his stride.

  • HawkZon

    I really like deGrom.

  • MetsFan90

    If the decision was to be made today it would be Montero going back to triple A. Both are major league ready players just deGrom as hit the ground running so far. He’s been able to maintain his composer and throws a lot of good strikes.

  • depressed Mets fan

    Can we get rid of Colon, maybe leave him at an all you can buffet ?

  • WillisReid

    With 2 guys in the rotation sporting ERA’s near 5 or over, this shouldn’t be a surprise.

  • iwamofo

    And this is exactly the reason why I did not like the Colon signing. Sandy better make some trades soon.

  • Captain America

    Go Hatters

  • Frank Francisco

    Colon signing was pointless to be honest. On paper it was nice to have him on the team, but on a financially constrained team there was really no point to it. Money should have been used elsewhere. There is congestion in pitching depth as is and plenty of guys that can fill in if necessary:

    Gee
    Niese
    Wheeler
    Mejia
    deGromm
    Montero
    Syndergaard
    Dice-K
    Torres (if spot starts are needed due to injuries or double-headers…)

    There was really no need for Colon. Money from Colon could’ve been used for a SS/1B. Management just took Colon in the hopes that they’d get lucky on another bargain contract and then be able to flip him for pieces like they did Byrd, but now they are stuck with a 41 year old guy posting a 5+ ERA that they can’t release because they owe him a bucket of money. Not to mention he is a complete eye-sore and a disgrace to professional sports.

    I really hope for the sake of the organization that Colon can get it together.

  • Captain America

    He has looked awful or solid.

    He serves a solid purpose.

  • Frank Francisco

    I suspect that Colon will get his ERA down to like a 4.00 or so while eating up a ton of innings, its just unnecessary.

    If the Mets had hundreds of millions to spend the contract could’ve made sense but I think a rotation of Niese-Wheeler-deGromm-Montero-DiceK would be just as effective and $10 MM cheaper than Niese-Wheeler-deGromm-Montero-Colon.

    My bet is that Alderson expected Colon would be able to put up numbers close to what he did in 2012 which was pretty unrealistic given his age and career numbers.

    The money could’ve been used elsewhere.

  • Colon to the Yanks for a bag of balls. Montero to AAA or the bullpen. Everybody wins.

  • Mike B

    Agreed. He needs to win a couple for that to happen. But Yanks are desperate and money not too great for them.

  • Mike B

    Ditto.

  • Captain America

    Who in that group eats innings without a limit or health concerns?

    Colon and his genetically altered arm was secured as an inning eater to solidify and help the young rotation.

    He will pitch well enough to get flipped and bring back prospects.

    The chris young deal looks like a bomb at a low cost though.

  • Mike B

    He needs to attack hitters, like deGrom does. He’s been pitching only outside half of the plate. I’m not sure he has the stuff. Decent movement, but nothing really outstanding. I suppose if he can hit both sides of the plate, he’ll be really good. I need to see him a bit more. I’m sold on deGrom. He got beat up a bit, but I loved the way he went after Puig. The next time he was more cautious, but that’s just human nature. Puig’s a beast. IMO, he’s up there almost with Miguel Cabrera.

  • gameball

    They really should be giving Montero a fair shot at the rotation now that the decision has been made to bring him up. But if there’s no room for Montero in the rotation when Gee returns, then let him start in Vegas. The guy is conditioned to a starters workload—pitched 150 strong innings last year. Moving Montero to the pen at this point would be a colossal waste of a starting prospect. Maybe later when he gets his full workload in Vegas, you let him finish up in the pen. But I wouldn’t advise even that unless the team’s contending, which doesn’t seem likely.

  • mr. belvedere

    When Gee comes back you DFA Valverde, option German to AAA when he comes off the DL as well and slide Montero to the bullpen because I think that’s where he ends up any way…with Mejia and Montero handling the 8th and 9th would be a dynamic duo and it slots Familia and Torres to middle relief where they belong as well with Rice and Edgin as 1-2 batter tops LH specialists with Dice as the emergency starter/long man…everything fits in the rotation and bullpen in that scenario…and all the criticism about the Colon signing is crazy, we need him to be an innings eater with all the young ?’s in the staff…Colon hasn’t been as bad as his numbers, he’s been really good or really bad, but even in his bad starts he’s only failed to make it thru the 5th one time…he’s on a small 2 year deal where we didn’t give up a pick, Colon will be even more valuable come August

  • Fast Eddie

    If we did that, how long would it be before Colon caught on to the truth? I’m guessing three days.

    Veloz

  • Frank Francisco

    Idk, maybe I’m biased because I think “eating innings” is overrated when there’s pitching depth and rotation congestion. Just my opinion though.

    And yeah the CY deal looks like garbage.

  • Mikey

    Montero under no circumstances should be put in the Pen….
    If they can’t fit him into the rotation either by going to a 6 man for the summer or someone else getting injured,

    Then they should send him back down to the Minors because he is much more valuable as a Starter both on the field and in the trade value….

    And the second he goes to the pen his Value Plummets!

    If Gee coming back causes an issue with rotation room then perhaps it’s time to send Wheeler back down to work on his stuff because as it stands he has been the weakest pitcher in the rotation so far!

  • HawkZon

    Yes, God please.

  • RS

    Eating innings is underrated, especially with a young staff that will, at times, be limited to 5 innings. Didn’t Colon pitch 8 last time out? That has a lot of value in preserving the bullpen. Also, there has to be some foresight; a lot fo these young guys wont be able to pitch through the entire season.

  • Andrew Herbst

    Degrom has to stay in rotation. And Montero as well.

  • MikeBedlam

    deGrom should stay in the rotation until he proves otherwise.
    Montero should stay in the rotation until he proves otherwise.

    Wheeler should go to AAA when Gee returns. He needs to work on a few things, especially being aggressive when up in the count. He has top-of-the-rotation stuff, but back-of-the-rotation mentality. I’d rather see him work on that in Vegas under Wally. This is not a knock on Wheeler. I still think the sky is the limit for him. But as dependent as we are on our pitching right now, he needs to be better. And he looks like he’s having difficulty adjusting. I really think that not having Harvey around has hurt Wheeler the most.

    I’d also argue that Mejia didn’t get any rope to work with. I’d like to see if he can thrive in his new late-inning role. If not, he deserves at least one more chance to crack the rotation.

    Familia needs to go on the Parnell plan if he’s ever going to become a consistent and useful part of the bullpen.

  • You’re a Mets fan. You should know by now, God looks the other way when it comes to us.

  • Tommy

    The great thing about deGrom is he gets stronger as the game goes on! You see not only a lot of the young pitchers, but even vets have tough times 2nd, 3rd, 4th time through the order (see Mejia), but he gets better! That shows that he is/can be a really good pitcher! He seems to have that bull dog mentality like Harvey! I thought Wheeler was like that last year when runner’s got on and/or in scoring position, but he isn’t doing that as much this year?

  • SCarton12

    I’m glad you brought up the innings limits. Everyone gets giddy over the young guys until someone brings reality to the discussion.

  • Flatbush0460

    One-year was fine for Colon. It was the second year of the deal Sandy should have passed on. There was and is a high likelihood that year bites us on the butt. I don’t believe anyone else in baseball would have gone for season 2 with this guy.