Jacob deGrom has just finished one of the greatest seasons for a pitcher in the last generation. The New York Mets’ ace has staked his claim to the National League Cy Young Award and there is absolutely no reason he shouldn’t win it.
After his final start on Wednesday night, the 30-year-old righty finished the 2018 season with a record of 10-9, a 1.70 ERA, a 0.91 WHIP and 269 strikeouts in 217 innings. He gave up three runs or fewer in his final 29 starts, a single-season record. His dominance was simply remarkable.
The main argument against deGrom seems to be that the Mets were terrible so he should be disqualified from consideration. That is utter nonsense. In fact, the top two candidates for the NL Cy Young will undoubtedly come from non-playoff teams, as Max Scherzer will also not be participating in the postseason.
Scherzer has had a fantastic year as well. He leads the NL in wins (18), strikeouts (300), innings (220.2) and is tied with deGrom for the top WHIP (0.91). But when you go inside the advanced numbers, it’s not even close.
*Note, if you need to brush up on the latest advanced stat terminology go here
The Mets’ ace outstrips Scherzer by leaps in so many categories. His ERA is 0.83 lower than the Washington Nationals star. His FIP of 1.98 crushes Scherzer’s number (2.65). And deGrom’s fWAR of 8.8 is 1.5 points higher than Scherzer’s mark of 7.3. He leads the major leagues in all of those categories.
If those numbers don’t do it for you, consider this: deGrom’s ERA+ is 219. That’s 49 points better than second place in the NL (Aaron Nola at 170). Only four pitchers have hit an ERA+ of 200 or better since 2009.
To get kind of historical on you, it’s worth noting a few of the following achievements by deGrom:
-Since 2000, his fWAR is the sixth-best for a pitcher.
-He has posted the second-lowest ERA since 1996 (the first 162-game season after the strike). Only Zack Greinke’s mark of 1.66 in 2015 is better.
-His ERA this season is the fifth-lowest by a pitcher since the mound was lowered in 1969.
-In baseball history only six pitchers have had at least 269 strikeouts while allowing 10 or fewer home runs and giving up 50 or fewer walks: deGrom (2018), Pedro Martinez (1999), Jack Lynch (1884), Bobby Mathews (1884), Charlie Sweeney (1884) and Jim Whitney (1883).
-And finally, since 1909 only two pitchers have had a season in which they had an ERA of less than 2.00, at least 250 strikeouts and 50 or fewer walks: Pedro Martinez in 2000 and deGrom this year.
What these stats should tell you is that pitching wins and losses are wildly overrated because they are so reliant on the rest of the team coming through. They don’t matter at all when evaluating how great a starter is.
It was an amazing season for deGrom and he should absolutely be rewarded with the NL Cy Young.