Jacob deGrom Is Better Than He Was Last Year
One of the issues surrounding Jacob deGrom all year is what has happened to his velocity. According to Brooks Baseball, deGrom’s fastball velocity has dropped from 96 MPH to 94 MPH this year. Part of the reason was his lat injury to start the season. Another reason could have been the troubles he had at home with a sick child. Whatever it was deGrom has admitted he wasn’t as prepared this season as he had been in years past.
The result was deGrom getting off to a sluggish start for him. For the first two months of the season, deGrom allowed batter to hit .246/.301/.354 against him. Midway through June, deGrom had a 2.96 ERA and a 1.137 WHIP. Now, these are not poor numbers to say the least, but they did represent a step back for deGrom who emerged as an ace last year going 14-8 with a 2.54 ERA, a 0.979 WHIP, and a 149 ERA+.
Starting in the end of June, deGrom has started to piece things back together. His June 25th start against the Braves saw him go on a nine start streak where he has been dominant. In that nine start stretch, deGrom has gone 4-1 with a 1.49 ERA and a 0.945 WHIP. In this stretch, deGrom pitched his first ever complete game shutout, and he has allowed one run or less in seven of his nine starts. As the season as progressed, deGrom has slowly but surely gained velocity with him throwing 95 MPH during the month of August. Overall, deGrom has completely turned his season around.
Now, deGrom has a 7-5 record with a 2.30 ERA, 1.050 WHIP, and a 177 ERA+. The ERA and ERA+ figures are better than the numbers deGrom put up during his breakout 2015 season. Not only has deGrom gotten better as the season has progressed, he has just gotten better. Diminished pitcher or not, deGrom is putting up the best numbers in his career, and he is doing it at a time when the Mets need him the most.
This should come as no surprise to Mets fans. We saw him outpitch Clayton Kershaw to start the NLDS last season. In Game One he only allowed five hits over seven shutout innings while walking one and striking out 13. Perhaps more impressive than that was him defeating Zack Greinke in Game Five of the NLDS. In that game, deGrom had nothing going for him, and yet he still won the game allowing just two earned runs over six innings. In that game, deGrom dug deep and was able to figure out how to get batters out.
With that in mind, it should come as no surprise that deGrom has been even better this year despite his having less velocity on his fastball. It should never come as a surprise that deGrom is coming through when the Mets need him most. In the end, it should come as no surprise that once again deGrom has emerged as the best pitcher on the Mets staff.