Jacob deGrom, RHP, 2014-Present
Year of eligibility: Active Player
This one’s too early to call. Jacob deGrom has pitched on a Hall of Fame level. The 9th round pick in 2010 made his way through the Mets system and quickly made himself known across Major League Baseball. He won the 2014 NL Rookie of the Year award and hasn’t looked back since.
Through his first 5 seasons, deGrom has racked up 1000 strikeouts, while pitching to a 2.67 ERA over 897.2 innings. He has given up 1 run or less in 50% of his major league starts. This is pretty remarkable for a player who was a full-time shortstop until his junior season at Stetson University.
If deGrom continues mowing down hitters at this rate, he could potentially reach the 3,000 strikeout mark, a number that only 16 other pitchers have reached (14 are in the Hall of Fame, one of the two non-Hall of Famers being Roger Clemens). Jake is currently on pace to accomplish this feat in 15 seasons; of the 16 pitchers with 3,000 strikeouts, only 3 have done so in a career lasting fewer than 20 seasons.
deGrom’s 2018 NL Cy Young season was one of the most dominant pitching seasons of all-time. Throwing 24 straight quality starts, never allowing more than 4 runs in a single start all season, and being in the bottom of the league in walks and home runs allowed, all while striking out 269 batters is why he nearly won the Cy Young unanimously and even received an MVP vote on a 77 win team.
That being said, he only has 55 wins to show for it. At age 30, who knows how long he will pitch in the majors. Others such as Nolan Ryan pitched effectively into their 40s and at the Cy Young-caliber rate that deGrom is currently pitching at, it makes one wonder if he is destined for Cooperstown.