Jacob deGrom has been named the National League Rookie of the Month for his outstanding July. The 26-year old right-hander posted a 4-1 record with a sparkling 1.39 ERA in five starts. In 32.1 IP, deGrom struck out 38 batters, while walking only 7 and surrendering just 3 extra-base hits (yes, 3 extra-base hits). In short, he was incredible.
Many fans expected top prospects Rafael Montero or Noah Syndergaard to be capturing New York City headlines this summer. Instead, much like Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler in the seasons before him, deGrom has enjoyed the instant success in his rookie campaign. After posting an ERA well over 4 in 2013, splitting time between Double-A and Triple-A, deGrom was given a modest #10 ranking on Baseball America’s list of Mets top prospects. He is surely exceeding scouts’ expectations.
Although he has yet to throw even 100 big league innings, deGrom has shown an impressive ability to maintain his mid-90s fastball deep into games, using his hard slider to induce strikeouts and keep the ball in the park. deGrom has not allowed a home run in ten consecutive starts, spanning over 65 IP.
It appears that the Mets may have found yet another hard-throwing righty to add to their vast collection of young, power pitchers. Advanced metrics predict deGrom’s home run rate may rise (only 6.1% of fly balls he has surrendered have left the yard, compared to a ML average 9.7%), but his impressive strikeout and walk rates should atone for this.
DeGrom will likely be battling outfielder Billy Hamilton of the Reds for NL Rookie of the Year honors. While Hamilton may ultimately have the edge, no rookie can compete with deGrom’s greatest attribute.