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Mets: Jacob deGrom is quietly one of the best in the game

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May 10, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) in the first inning of the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
May 10, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) in the first inning of the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports /
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Jacob deGrom has been one of the better pitchers in baseball over the last few years but doesn’t garner attention like his fellow Mets pitchers or other top pitchers

Of the current quintuplet of young Mets starters, deGrom came up with the least fanfare.  He was a 9th Round, 272nd overall pick in the 2010 Draft by the Mets, whereas the other four were first and second Round picks.

Zach Wheeler: 1st Round, 6th Overall (Giants,2009)

Matt Harvey: 1st Round, 7th Overall (Mets, 2010)

Noah Syndergaard: 1st Round, 38th Overall (Blue Jays, 2010)

Steven Matz: 2nd Round, 72nd Overall (Mets, 2009)

DeGrom was a shortstop until he switched to pitching in his junior year of a college at Stetson, which makes his rise to one of the better pitchers in the league even that more impressive.  As a late bloomer to pitching, he made his debut with little hype on May 15, 2014 against the Yankees.

In his debut he was the hard luck loser, which is a theme I’ll discuss later.  The Mets lost, 1-0, as deGrom pitched 7 innings while giving up one run and striking out six. He finished his rookie campaign with a 9-6 record, 2.69 ERA and 144 K’s in 140.1 innings while earning him the NL Rookie of the Year award.

He followed this up with a stellar 2015 season, proving that his rookie season was no fluke.  He finished last year with a 14-8 record with 205 strikeouts in 191 innings to along with a 2.54 ERA and 0.98 WHIP.  He finally got some appreciation on the national level in the 2015 All-Star Game as he struck out the side on 10 pitches during his inning of work.

This was followed by an impressive postseason run.  He started the Mets off on the right track in the postseason as he threw seven scoreless innings while giving up five hits and striking out 13 as the Mets took Game 1 of the NLDS from the Dodgers, 3-1.

Although it wasn’t as eye-popping numbers-wise, his Game 5 was even more impressive as it showed his great ability to battle through when he doesn’t have his best stuff.

During a game that could have gotten out of hand in the first, deGrom limited the damage to two runs and battled in and out of trouble through six tough innings. enabling the Mets to move onto the NLCS.

This season got off to a tough start for deGrom due to complications with the birth of his son, Jaxon. Thankfully his son is now healthy and doing well.  While this was going on he was also battling a lat injury.

Although his numbers weren’t bad early on, he wasn’t pitching his best yet but his tenacity got him through many of those starts. He has really hit his stride of late, with a 1.52 ERA over his last eight starts.

Since his debut two years ago, deGrom’s 2.54 ERA is the fourth-lowest behind Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke and Jake Arrieta. He’s had a lot of tough luck and thus the low number of wins despite being on that list with the best in the game.

Sunday’s start against the Tigers was the 11th time in deGrom’s career that he has allowed one run or less and failed to come away with the win.

His string of hard luck in terms of not picking up wins contributes to the lack of national attention for how good of a pitcher he is.

Like I said earlier, deGrom doesn’t even get the most attention of the Mets  young starters.  Two guys, Harvey and Syndergaard, have superhero nicknames and personas.  Matz is the local kid who grew up a Mets fan.  Wheeler the highest-drafted of them all.

DeGrom is the one drafted late who didn’t start pitching until college and has that very easy going personality which takes a back seat to some of the others on the staff — while he may the best of the bunch.

Though I don’t know deGrom personally, the smiling and humble kid from Florida probably doesn’t mind to continue flying under the radar while being one of the best.

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