Jacob deGrom Catching Up To Tom Seaver
With certain franchises, the top player will always be the top player. Their legend and accolades just reaches that level.
Then again, there’s the St. Louis Cardinals. They had Stan Musial, but then Albert Pujols comes along. The answer is still Musial, but with what Pujols accomplished, it’s now more of a conversation. It seems Jacob deGrom is becoming the Pujols to Tom Seaver’s Musial.
In his second start off the IL, deGrom flirted with a perfect game. Over the first 5 2/3 innings, he was absolutely perfect striking out 12 of the 17 batters he faced. The Braves had no chance against him, and really, the only thing that stopped him was stamina as he’s working his way back to full strength.
This would be the 200th start of deGrom’s career. He recorded his 1,523rd strikeout of his career. That is the most strikeouts any pitcher has had over their first 200 career starts. Yes, that includes Nolan Ryan, the all-time leader.
This is emblematic of how deGrom has dominated like none before him. In 146 starts, he’s allowed two or fewer runs. In 106 starts, over half of his career starts, he’s allowed one or fewer. Each and every time he takes the mound, he absolutely dominates the opposition.
His 157 career ERA+ is the best in Major League history for all starters. In baseball history, he trails only Negro League Hall of Famers Bullet Rogan and Bill Foster. This arguably makes him the best and most dominant pitcher in Major League history.
Looking to the Mets, deGrom currently holds a number of records. He holds the record in ERA (2.50), WHIP (1.007),. K/9 (10.8), K/BB (5.1), FIP (2.63), and ERA+. Looking at that, by some measures, deGrom has actually been better than Seaver. That’s remarkable in and of itself.
That said, there are records Seaver has that deGrom will never touch. That includes wins, innings, complete games, and shutouts. Seaver has some other attainable records like the three Cy Youngs.
That’s the thing. Seaver is the greatest Mets who has ever worn the uniform. There’s a reason he was the first player to have his number retired and there is a statute of him as you enter Citi Field. No one can and will ever be better.
That said, by some measures deGrom has actually been better, and his career isn’t over. There are things he can do that Seaver never did. Maybe deGrom wins multiple World Series. Maybe he has another Cy Young or two in him. Who knows?
All we do know is deGrom has done things Seaver never did, and he actually holds some Mets pitching records over Seaver. He’ll never quite catch Seaver, but he has increasingly put himself in the conversation. Just how much more he puts himself in the conversation remains to be seen.