New York Mets News

New York Mets report card for starting pitchers in 2018

By Judy Kamilhor
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 08: Jacob deGrom #48 of the New York Mets delivers a pitch during the third inning of a game against the New York Yankees at Citi Field on June 8, 2018 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Yankees defeated the Mets 4-1. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 08: Jacob deGrom #48 of the New York Mets delivers a pitch during the third inning of a game against the New York Yankees at Citi Field on June 8, 2018 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Yankees defeated the Mets 4-1. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /
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As per usual, the New York Mets starting pitching was a highlight of 2018. Let’s grade how each individual performed.

Question: Which starting pitcher did not pitch in the first or last five games, but started 29 games for the New York Mets in 2018?

All in all, the Mets starting pitchers had a very good season (6th best starters’ ERA 3.54, 4th in FIP 3.58, and 6th most IP), although not quite the way we expected. Jacob deGrom and Zack Wheeler exceeded all expectations, and Matt Harvey threw his last pitch for the Mets. Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz produced results within expectations.

Here’s a nifty graph from FanGraphs showing the changing fortunes of “The Big Five,” measured by ERA.

Here is our report card for all pitchers who started at least one game for the 2018 Mets.

The Ace of Your New York Mets, Jacob deGrom

The Nicknames: Jake, The deGrominator, Cy

The Review: 2018 is the year Jacob deGrom went from 1A to Cy Young. His season will be remembered along with Dwight Gooden’s 1985 and Tom Seaver’s 1971 as the greatest pitching seasons in Mets history.

He grew up this year from a fun-loving co-ace into a gritty, focused, and truly dominant superstar. His demeanor on the mound was no-nonsense, and his results were as consistently great as Tom Seaver’s.

Obviously, the people who worried about losing his mojo when he cut his hair, were wrong. The only blip was a hyper-extended elbow while batting against the Braves on May 2. After being DLed, he came back and pitched a 45 pitch first inning against the Phillies, after which he was rightly removed by Mickey Callaway.

The rest, as they say, is history. His last 24 starts included 18 games of at least seven innings and nine games of at least eight innings.

The Pitching stats (with ZIPS projections in parentheses) (all stats from FanGraphs unless noted):

  • G  32 (29)
  • GS  32 (29)
  • IP  217 (181.3)
    • 2nd best for all pitchers with 100+ IP
  • ERA  1.70 (3.38)
    • 1st for all pitchers with 100+ IP
  • FIP  1.99 (3.31)
    • 2nd best
  • WHIP  0.91
    • 4th best
  • K/9  11.16 (9.48)
    • 8th best
  • BB/9  1.91 (2.38)
    • 17th best
  • HR/9  0.41 (0.99)
    • 2nd best
  • GB%  46.4 (N/A)
    • 45th best
  • WAR  8.8 (4.4)
    • 3rd best (best of all MLB pitchers)
  • LOB%  82.0 (N/A)
    • 9th best

The Offensive stats: PA 74 .164/.211/.179/.390, and a career-high 5 RBIs

The Value: $70 million(!!) Actual salary $7.4 million

The Grade: A++ (he upped his velocity on every pitch type, and exceeded every significant FIPS projection)

Notes: I’ve seen Seaver, Gooden, and deGrom pitch in their primes, and deGrom reminds me so much of Seaver. Gooden may have been more spectacular early in his career, but Seaver was automatic: at least seven innings, no more than two runs, at least nine Ks every game.

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