“He’s always flown under the radar. He still is,” Terry Collins said after last night’s 3-1 win over the Mariners. “This guy has got numbers to match up with any rookie in the league, and you never hear his name mentioned.”
“We are seeing exactly what all the reports out of the minor leagues have ever said about this guy,” Collins said. “And that is: He keeps the ball down. He gets groundballs. Although he’s striking some guys out here because he’s learned how to do it a little bit, he keeps the ball in the ballpark. It’s really impressive to see.”
I usually implore you not to buy into much of what Collins’ says, mostly because he’s so often contradicting himself from one day to the next. But on the matter of deGrom possibly squeaking out enough of a great season to win the ROY? Count me in Camp Collins.
ESPN summarizes this year’s NL rookie of the month winners as Arizona’s Chris Owings, St. Louis’ Kolten Wong and Cincinnati’s Billy Hamilton. And one quick glance at this year’s rookie class gives me hope that deGrom can actually pull this off.
Last night, deGrom limited the Seattle Mariners to one run on five hits in seven innings and he now has a 1.59 ERA in his last six starts going back to June 21. Impressively, he has not allowed a home run in his last 52 2/3 innings.
What stands out the most about deGrom, and regular MMO readers should already know this, is his swagger, confidence and pitching savvy. A year ago I felt that he could emerge as the best out of the big three; Rafael Montero, Noah Syndergaard and himself, just on pitching smarts alone. This guy doesn’t beat you by throwing 98 mph, he’s a pitcher’s pitcher.
Nothing seems to faze this young man as he braves every situation with or without men in scoring position with such poise and consistency. He has a way about him that you just can’t teach, you either have it or you don’t.
Already owning a terrific fastball, curveball and slider combination, deGrom’s changeup is quickly becoming a killer pitch for him, nobody sees it coming and it hits the strike zone with such stealthy precision.
And can he battle? You bet he can, this kid refuses to give into anyone and as I said above, nothing fazes him.
He lowered his ERA to 3.01 ERA on Tuesday night and there’s still room for improvement. The nervous jitters that we saw in his first three starts have now been replaced with a confidence that’s resulting in fewer walks and his composure at this point is undeniable.
Perhaps a very impressed Lucas Duda said it best last night, “He’s beyond his years.” Duda is right, and it’s as simple as that.
Billy Hamilton is clearly the one to beat for the ROY award now that Chris Owings and Gregory Polanco have cooled down some. But after last night’s performance, deGrom is certainly in the family photo. His next 6-8 starts will need to be as good as his last six. If he can repeat the feat, my guess is we’re looking at the 2014 Rookie of the Year.