With less than a month to go before pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training, one of the best Mets arms is making his goals known
It wasn’t Jacob deGrom‘s best season with the Mets in 2017 – in fact it was statistically his worst – but the 29-year-old righty showed a ton of resilience throughout the campaign. The way he battled every single start whether he had his best stuff on the mound or not really demonstrated what a competitor he really is.
With the absence of fireballer Noah Syndergaard due to his lat injury, and Matt Harvey‘s continued struggles, deGrom was tasked with being the number 1 starter out of the rotation. He was the stopper when the Mets were in the middle of a bad streak of games, and the one that made Citi Field somewhat entertaining as well.
This coming year, deGrom is going to be looking to build on that success in hopes of achieving another personal milestone: being crowned the best pitcher in the National League.
The 2014 Rookie of the Year award winner told John Harper of the New York Daily News about this ambition and what he’s doing in hopes of attaining it.
“That’s the main goal,” deGrom said. “You set the bar high and go after it. That’s what I’m striving for.”
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Last season, deGrom hit the 200 inning mark for the first time in his career, but his ERA was negatively impacted by the number of home runs he gave up. That 3.53 ERA was also a career high, so he’s obviously hoping that if he’s able to surrender less than the 28 bombs he allowed in 2017, that’ll drastically improve.
As Harper notes, that doesn’t mean that deGrom is being selfish about this coming season. It’s anything but that, actually. One of the things he’s looking to take the lead on in 2018 is the clubhouse. Last season’s end left a sour taste in his mouth, so he’s going to be looking to help change that.
"“It was a tough year, with the injuries, the losing, the trades of some of our key guys, and then giving young guys chances to see if they were ready.“All of that made it tough, but we have to get back to all being on the same side, pulling in the same direction. I think doing things the right way is the best way to be a leader, but if I see something going on, something’s not being done the way it’s supposed to be, I’ll say something.”"
We all hope that deGrom will not only benefit from another year of experience under his belt, but also from having more pitching expertise in that clubhouse. Manager Mickey Callaway and pitching coach Dave Eiland while surely take full advantage of all of deGrom’s weapons to make this coming season the best he can have.
One big change that we already know has taken place, however, has to do with deGrom’s long locks. Back in October, deGrom chopped his hair off, and fans predictably lost their minds. Well, apparently he’s gonna keep it this way for the time being.
“It’s still short right now. I’ll probably keep it short. It’s so much easier to care for.”
Hey if it’s easier for deGrom to take care of his hair now, that means he has to spend less time on it, which could – in some indirect way – help his pitching. I don’t know.
It’ll be really cool to see how deGrom’s season unfolds in 2018. He has a lot of potential going into it, so I’m excited. Syndergaard’s biggest competition for top ranks in pitching may not be in LA, Washington, or anywhere else. He could be right in the same dugout.