Jacob deGrom, P
Player Data: Age: 29, B/T: L/R, Free Agency: 2021
2017 Primary Stats: 31 GS, 201.1 IP, 15-10, 3.53 ERA, 3.50 FIP, 239 K, 1.187 WHIP, 5.0 WAR
2018 Salary: $9.2 million (projected)
Jacob deGrom was the one mainstay in the pitching rotation this season and one of the few bright spots on a team that was decimated by injuries and hobbled to a 70-92 record. For the first time in his career, he hit the 200 innings plateau; an important feat for the right-hander.
While deGrom had his lows this season, including back-to-back starts early in the season where he was lit up like a Christmas tree, he bounced back to vintage form. Unwilling to mope around and settle, he followed the advice of Hall-of-Famer John Smoltz, who told him to throw two side sessions between starts.
“I think just being able to repeat my delivery, there’s a little more consistency there,” deGrom said in June. “I was flying before, I would yank the ball, or I guess I call it pushing it. I would yank it to a right-handed batter then throw it up and away to a lefty. So getting back to getting kind of on top of it, closer to where I need to be, has helped me a lot.”
After he followed Smoltz’s advice, deGrom was named NL Player of the Week for the week of June 12–18. He hit his first home run, posted a 0.53 ERA, allowed eight hits, struck out 12 and walked six in 17 innings over two starts.
Finishing with a 15-10 record and a 3.53 ERA, deGrom hopes to repeat his success next season and wants to be able to throw 200 innings year in and year out.
“It’s definitely big for me,” deGrom said of his feat. “We’ve got plans to hopefully go to the World Series next year, and I think that’s something I wanted to get to, to know what it’s like to pitch that many innings in a year.
“You never know what to expect coming off of surgery, so being healthy this year definitely has been a big plus for me.”
Did You Know:
Justin Verlander became the first pitcher to strike out 13 batters in a playoff start since Jacob deGrom did it in Game 1 of the 2015 NLDS.
If the Mets want to compete next year, the success will yet again lie within the rotation. DeGrom will be the anchor of the staff and if Noah Syndergaard can remain healthy, the Mets will have a solid 1,2 punch. Matt Harvey is a big question mark as is Zack Wheeler. Steven Matz underwent the same procedure this season as deGrom did last year, which hopefully is a good sign for the southpaw. DeGrom is determined and there’s no doubt in my mind that he can go out there and be a workhorse next season just like he was this year. While his ERA was higher than normal this year, with a better team behind him and the Mets in contention, hopefully it will drop. Regardless, he will go out there every fifth day yet again and give you the best chance to win.