Jacob Anthony deGrom has been one of the most dominant pitchers over the last half-decade.
A hidden gem in the ninth round of the 2010 draft, deGrom has put himself in the conversation as one of the top pitchers of the generation and has carried the New York Mets through a transition period as the team’s sole dominant player. His electric pitch mix and deceiving arm slot for all pitches have created havoc for opposing hitters. Without a doubt, deGrom makes the Mets a much better team when he’s healthy.
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DeGrom’s status as a ninth-round pick immediately made him a diamond in the rough. He debuted in 2014 and made his presence known with a combo of high-octane velocity and noticeable hair. He was part of a new era for the Mets which produced many big hurlers including Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, and Zack Wheeler. DeGrom was initially an afterthought but more than held his own. As a rookie, he went 9-6 with a 2.69 ERA and 144 strikeouts en route to earning the National League Rookie of the Year Award.
In his first full season, 2015, deGrom was named to the All-Star Game where he struck out all three batters on 10 pitches. The Mets made the playoffs in 2015, and although they ultimately lost to the Royals in the World Series, deGrom earned Gold Glove. 2018 was his real breakout as he went 10-9 with a 1.70 ERA, won the Cy Young Award, and garnered an All-Star selection. His ERA led the majors and was the third-lowest of any pitcher with 30 starts in a season since MLB lowered the mound.
Before Opening Day 2019, the Mets and deGrom agreed to a five-year, $137.5 million contract extension. He repeated his greatness and became the 11th pitcher ever to win back-to-back Cy Young Awards. In the pandemic-shortened 2020, deGrom led the National League in strikeouts for the second consecutive season, with 104. 2021 was the season where deGrom showed his best numbers as he went 7–2 with a 1.08 ERA and 146 strikeouts through 92 innings. He also just missed out on the Silver Slugger Award, finishing second to Max Fried. His season ended in July due to elbow issues. So far in his career, deGrom has a 2.50 ERA with 1,505 strikeouts through 1261.2 innings. He has been an impressive pitcher with a fastball that routinely sits in the triple-digits.
DeGrom already has stellar numbers despite playing for just eight seasons. It’s too early to say for certain, but he might just be on a path to Cooperstown. He already has the hardware to enter the Hall of Fame and has required just a few seasons to accomplish great feats. When a player has such a profound impact on their own team like deGrom has demonstrated, it’s hard to ignore their eventual Hall of Fame candidacy.
Despite being one of the top players of his era, deGrom has little to show for it on the winning side. He holds a skimpy 77-53 record and only two playoff appearances. The Mets have not given him run support during his great performances. The elbow injuries are also a reason for concern and have to be monitored. Finally, the fact that he’s so deep into his career already doesn’t exactly bode well for his shot at the Hall.
If deGrom can sustain his gameplay and stay healthy, there will be a spot waiting for him in Cooperstown, N.Y. His achievements have paved a clear path and, as long as he can produce a couple more dominant seasons, there is no doubt that deGrom has the goods for the Hall of Fame. Perhaps that’s easier said than done, though. Injuries plagued the ace’s 2021 campaign, and it remains to be seen how his recovery will impact his future trajectory.
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