Mets: What Jacob deGrom needs for another stellar year in 2019
By Ethan Marshall
Expectations will be at an all-time high for New York Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom next season. What could possibly go wrong?
Jacob deGrom is coming off a historic season for the New York Mets in 2018, posting an MLB-best 1.70 ERA, with 269 strikeouts in 217 innings pitched and a 0.91 WHIP. He is currently the favorite to win the NL Cy Young despite a 10-9 record.
Looking ahead to the 2019 season, the expectations for deGrom will be nothing short of Cy Young-caliber pitching. Given his pitching history in the majors, there’s no reason to doubt he can’t put up yet another strong season in 2019.
There may be just one obstacle deGrom may have to avoid in 2019, and that’s the injury bug, which has constantly plagued several Mets over the last few years. Part of the reason deGrom’s been one of the most effective pitchers in the Mets’ vaunted rotation is because he has been able to stay healthy for the most part. The lone major injury deGrom’s suffered in his MLB career was nerve damage in his right elbow late in the 2016 season that required surgery.
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Injuries are very hard to predict, but with any talented Mets player over the last few seasons, it feels as though they are the most vulnerable to it. This incredible string of bad luck exemplifies the opinion of many Mets fans that the team is the Murphy’s Law of the MLB: anything that can go wrong probably will go wrong.
Perhaps it should be referred to as Daniel Murphy’s Law in this context.
Fans just have to hope that deGrom is good enough and lucky enough to avoid injury and continue performing at a high level.
In order for the Mets to succeed as a team alongside deGrom, they have to score him some runs. If the team could give him a win/loss record reflective of his pitching quality, as well as the rest of the starting rotation, then the team has a chance to be a playoff contender.
First, they need to make some additions to their offense and bullpen via free agency.
It’s unfair to expect deGrom to be as good in 2019 as he was in the 2018 season. What he did last season was have one of the greatest seasons by a starting pitcher over the last 50 years. He can still be the dominant pitcher he’s been since making his MLB debut in 2014.
Meanwhile, the Mets should be trying to get an extension done this off-season with their ace pitcher. With deGrom’s ability to locate all his pitches, allowing him to not solely rely on his velocity, he could be a great pitcher for years to come.
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Hopefully the organization can realize this and an agreement can be made so that there’s one less distraction.