The New York Mets have one of the best young rotations in baseball. It is full of star power, strikeouts, and great stories. It also has a clear ace, but not the one who comes to mind to most people, interestingly enough.
No, it is not Matt Harvey, the phenom who burst onto the scene like Doc Gooden, who started the All-Star Game at home in Queens two years ago, who has the personality (and ego) that fits into New York City perfectly, who’s starts are pumped up by MLB like it’s a holiday, and are known as “Harvey Day”.
No, it is not Zack Wheeler, the great prospect who Sandy Alderson stole from the Giants for an aging Carlos Beltran, and had as much hype as Harvey, if not more. No, it is not Noah Syndergaard, or “Thor” as he is affectionately known as, the big right-handed Texan who can throw 100 MPH and who it seems fans have been hearing about forever. And, no it is not “The Amazin'” Steven Matz, the native New Yorker and life-long Mets fan, who has overcome Tommy John surgery, and wowed the crowds with his bat.
No none of them are the ace of the Mets. Their true ace is a quiet kid from Florida, already 27 in just his first full season in the Majors.
His hair is almost as famous as he is. He was originally a shortstop up until his senior season at tiny Stetson University in Florida, until the team needed another pitcher and put the lanky right-hander in the bullpen. He was the Mets ninth round pick in 2010, the same year the Mets used the seventh overall pick on Harvey.
When he made his major league debut, it was an accident and not supposed to last long, caused only by an injury to Dillon Gee. He was supposed to be a reliever and garned little fan-fare at first. The guy who had seven pitchers ahead of him on the depth chart going into 2014, has emerged as the best of all of them.
His name is Jacob deGrom.
deGrom has beefed up his credibility, winning last years’ Rookie of the Year Award, and being named to this years’ All-Star Game in Cincinnati. It seems that finally people are recognizing how good he is and that maybe he is not just a fluke.
Last year, deGrom posted a 2.69 ERA with a 9-6 record, a 1.14 WHIP, and 144 strikeouts over 140.1 innings pitched and 22 starts. Pretty good, right? Now look at this year’s numbers. He has the same 9-6 record already with 2.14 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, and 112 strikeouts over 113.2 innings pitched and 17 starts.
Yeah, I think he’s pretty good.
Despite all of this, deGrom has oddly lacked the same attention that his staff mates receive for the most part. Recently, he has been getting more of his due credit, but it still is not enough.
People around the league, and even around the Mets fan base do not seem to notice just how good deGrom has been. We’re talking about a player who has put himself into consideration to start the All-Star Game, and even potentially win the Cy Young.
Numbers wise you can easily argue he has out-pitched the likes of Clayton Kershaw, Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto, Jon Lester, and yes Matt Harvey himself. deGrom has not just solidified his place at the top of the Mets rotation, but as one of the games’ elite pitchers.
So while he may not date supermodels, have a cool nickname, or have his starts treated like a holiday, deGrom has certainly out-pitched his more well-known teammates and some of the league’s best pitchers. He combines impeccable control, a hard fastball, a nasty slider, and the best hair in the league, to make a star.
So, move over Matt Harvey. The Mets have a new ace, and he is one to be feared around the league. He is the quiet and laid-back southerner from Florida, the college shortstop, the should-be spot starter, the “old” rookie, the one with the hair. He is Jacob deGrom.