Before everyone takes the time to look at the actual picks I made for this article, I would just like to point out that I had so many options to pick from, that it was extremely tough to choose just five to make the list and they are in no particular order.
DeGrom, 30, has already made such a lasting impact in the New York Mets organization in his five years pitching with the MLB club.
In terms of how I determined my picks, I did not only consider how he pitched overall, but the importance of the game too.
1. NLDS Game 1 (9/9/15)
The Mets made the postseason for the first time since 2006 in 2015, so even just making the playoffs that year was a ceremonious occasion. Defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers, who had home-field advantage in the NLDS, was going to be a tall task, especially since the Dodgers had both Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke at their disposal.
However, deGrom managed to walk toe-to-toe with Kershaw and ended up out-pitching him as deGrom last seven innings that night while striking 13 batters. He allowed no runs, five hits, and one walk en route to the Mets’ first postseason victory in almost a decade to put the Mets up 1-0 in the NLDS.
2. One-Hitter Against the Phillies (7/7/16)
In this outing, deGrom was as dominant as he had been in his entire career against the division-rival Philadelphia Phillies. The right-hander threw his first career complete game shutout in which he allowed one lone hit in the third inning to the opposing pitcher, Zach Eflin, who hit a single up-the-middle.
DeGrom finished the game having allowed only the one hit and one walk while striking out seven batters, lowering his season-ERA to 2.38.
3. MLB Debut Against the Yankees (5/15/14)
Rafael Montero and Jacob deGrom were called up on the same day in 2014, with the former being the heralded pitching prospect everyone was buzzing about. In fact, the only reason deGrom started this game was due to an unexpected injury to another starter that allowed him to get this big game against our New York rivals.
The nerves of his MLB debut did not get to him in the slightest, though, as he went out and dazzled, tossing seven innings while allowing only one run, four hits, and two walks to go along with six strikeouts on 91 pitches. He received the loss in the game, however, as the Mets failed to give him any run support.
DeGrom, nonetheless, made scouts and talent evaluators take notice of the former shortstop with his plus-pitches, poise, and command. Despite not being highly regarded by the experts, deGrom put himself on the top of most prospect rankings by mid-season.
4. 1,000 Career Strikeout Game (9/26/18)
Jacob deGrom simply had nothing to prove to anyone at this point in the season to be deserving of winning Cy Young Award. He already had a significant lead in the ERA title with a 1.77 ERA and everybody, at this point, clearly could tell he was the best pitcher in the league.
Nonetheless, deGrom went out to reach his lofty goal set at the beginning of the season of recording his 1,000th strikeout. He did just that and in grandiose fashion as he went eight innings against the division-leading Braves while limiting them to two hits in the game. His last pitch of the season resulted in his 1,000th strikeout (his tenth of the night) as he struck out Ozzie Albies on a 3-2 pitch looking.
His season ERA lowered to 1.70 in the process and he received his tenth win to finish the season with a winning record at 10-9.
5.Dueling No-Hitter Bids (8/2/14)
Jacob deGrom and Jake Peavy would duel it out on this day about as well as you can as they both were striving for perfection and later a no-hitter.
However, the no-hitter remained intact until he would allow a double Pablo Sandoval with two outs in the seventh inning. DeGrom would not allow a run to score in the inning, though. Peavy would suffer big time in the bottom of the seventh as he would not only allow his first hit, but also give up four runs to give the Mets a wide lead.
Terry Collins had trust in deGrom during this game, though, and let him go out for the eighth inning, which ended up being a mistake as he allowed two runs. However, he still received the win while tossing 7 1/3 innings and allowing only two runs, four hits, and two walks to go along with seven strikeouts on 101 pitches.
- 2015 All-Star Game (7/14/15): In this performance, he struck out Stephen Vogt, Jason Kipnis, and Jose Iglesias on a mere 10 pitches in front of a packed house in Cincinnati.
- DeGrom strikes out Eight in a Row (9/15/14): The right-hander started this game against the Miami Marlins about as good as possible as he struck out eight consecutive batters to start the game, tying the MLB record for the most ever and, from that point forward, owning the Mets record.
- NLDS Game 5 (9/15/15): DeGrom clearly did not have his best stuff on this day as he allowed two runs in the first inning in what looked like a night where the Mets were going to be heading home. However, he managed to escape a bases-loaded jam in the first inning and lasted six innings while only allowing the two runs to help the Mets advance to the NLCS against the Chicago Cubs.