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Best Mets Of All-Time: No. 48 Jacob deGrom

Jacob deGrom has only pitched six years with the Mets organization, and in that time, he ranks fourth all-time in WAR among pitchers with a 33.3 WAR. To put that in perspective, the three pitchers ranked ahead of him had longer Mets careers, and only Tom Seaver had a higher WAR over his first six seasons.

That is what deGrom has accomplished so far in his Mets career. He has been pitching so great, he has accomplished things only Seaver has done not just in Mets history, but Major League history. With deGrom, we may very well be watching a Hall of Fame career.

When deGrom won the 2019 Cy Young, at the time, he joined Seaver as the only pitcher in Major League history to win the Rookie of the Year Award and two Cy Youngs. Moments later, he was joined by Justin Verlander, who will one day be a Hall of Famer. With deGrom winning consecutive Cy Youngs, he is the only pitcher to win a Rookie of the Year and consecutive Cy Youngs.

What is fascinating about that is no one really expected any of this from him.

When deGrom was first called up to the majors, he was expected to eventually move to the bullpen with Rafael Montero being the mainstay in the rotation. Seeing his Major League debut against the Yankees, it was soon clear the Mets had a truly special pitcher who could one day be an ace.

In his debut, he take the loss despite allowing the Yankees to one run over seven innings. That lack of run support would become a theme in his career. What made deGrom special was he would build on it. Perhaps the highlight of that rookie season was his setting a Major League record by striking out eight batters to start the game.

He finished that season with a flourish striking out 26 batters over his final two starts. That was an indication of what was to come in 2015.

While it was Bartolo Colon who got the Opening Day start, and Matt Harvey receiving all the hype, it was deGrom who was the true ace of that 2015 staff.  In fact, deGrom would be the only All-Star, and he would introduce himself to the baseball world striking out the side on just 10 pitches.

In that season, deGrom would finish seventh in Cy Young voting, but when it came to the postseason, there would be no better pitcher in the postseason. That was apparent when he completely and utterly dominated the Dodgers in Game 1 of the NLDS striking out 13 Dodgers en route to a win.

As dominant as he was in Game 1, he was that gritty in Game 5. In that game, deGrom joined Jon Matlack and Ron Darling as the only Mets pitchers to start a winner-take-all game. In that game, deGrom’s only 1-2-3 inning wa the sixth, but he would get through that game with the lead as the Mets would win the game and the series.

With deGrom winning two games in that series, he became the first ever Mets right-handed starter to win two games in a postseason series. With his victory in Game 3 of the NLCS, he would become the first Mets starter to win three games in a single postseason. In that postseason, deGrom was 3-1 with a 2.88 ERA, 1.160 WHIP, and a 10.4 K/9.

We briefly saw deGrom build upon that in 2016, and if not for his stepping aside for his teammate Colon, he would have been an All-Star again. Unfortunately, it was a very difficult season with deGrom as his newborn son dealt with health issues (thankfully, he was alright), and he would need season ending ulnar nerve transposition surgery.

In 2017, he proved he was healthy setting a career record with 15 wins and setting what was a then career best with 201.1 innings, 239 strikeouts, and a 10.4 K/9. Once he proved he could survive the rigors of a full season again, he was primed to become the best pitcher in all of baseball.

Simply put, deGrom’s 2018 season was one of the best in Major League history. In terms of just the numbers, he was 10-9 with a 1.70 ERA, 0.912 WHIP, and an 11.2 K/9. That year, he led the majors in ERA, HR/9, ERA+, and FIP. He was so great he would even have the most staunch traditionalists reevaluate the importance of wins in determining just how great a pitcher is.

It’s nearly impossible to pick a top moment from that season as deGrom was that dominant all season long, and in that season he would record his 1,000 career strikeout. He would get to that mark before any other pitcher in Mets history. Again, we see deGrom is edging into Seaver territory.

In that entire 2018 season, deGrom allowed more than two earned only six times with his allowing more than three just once. In contrast, he allowed zero runs nine times and one or fewer 21 times. He would start a streak of 30 straight starts allowing three runs or fewer, which is an MLB record. He also tied Bob Gibson‘s MLB record of 26 consecutive quality starts.

In 2019, deGrom was not nearly as great as he was in 2018. After all, no one could. However, he was still more than good enough to win another Cy Young, and yet again, he would set Major League records. On August 24, 2019, deGrom became the first ever Major Leaguer to have two games where he struck out 13+ and hit a homer:

This is all part of deGrom becoming an all-time great Met and Major League pitcher. In terms of the Mets, deGrom has the fourth best WAR among pitchers, and after one good full season, he should move to third all-time. He is currently second in ERA, and he is first in WHIP, K/9, and ERA+.

He is already all over the Mets top 10 pitching records, and he is primed to secure himself in the ensuing years as the clear second best pitcher in team history if he isn’t already. That makes him an easy choice as the best Mets player to ever wear the number 48.

Previous

1.Mookie Wilson
2.Mackey Sasser
3. Curtis Granderson
4. Lenny Dykstra
5. David Wright
6. Wally Backman
7. Jose Reyes
8. Gary Carter

9. Todd Hundley
10. Rey Ordonez
11. Wayne Garrett
12. John Stearns

13. Edgardo Alfonzo
14. Gil Hodges
15. Carlos Beltran

16. Dwight Gooden
17. Keith Hernandez
18. Darryl Strawberry

19. Bob Ojeda
20. Howard Johnson
21. Cleon Jones
22. Al Leiter
23. Bernard Gilkey
24. Art Shamsky

25. Pedro Feliciano
26. Terry Leach
27. Jeurys Familia
28. Daniel Murphy

29. Frank Viola
30. Michael Conforto
31. Mike Piazza

32. Jon Matlack
33. Matt Harvey

34. Noah Syndergaard
35. Rick Reed
36. Jerry Koosman
37. Casey Stengel
38. Skip Lockwood
39. Gary Gentry
40. Bartolo Colon
41. Tom Seaver

42. Ron Taylor
43. R.A. Dickey
44. David Cone
45. Tug McGraw

46. Oliver Perez
47. Jesse Orosco

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