Number Three Starter
Jacob deGrom – 2018
Who’s ever heard of a 10-9 Cy Young award season?
Umm yeah, we all have. Just last season.
Yes, deGrom’s dominance while everything seemed to crumble around him start after start, undermining his spectacular mound efforts time and again has been well documented, and fairly recently.
But while wielding a high-90’s fastball which he locates with ease, a solid curveball that he continuously sneaks over for strike one, a quality changeup that he can throw in any count, an exceptional slider to finish batters off with (when he isn’t using the high fastball at 97 MPH to do so), and a two-seam fastball to round it all out, deGrom has everything he needs to succeed on the bump, right?
If only it was that simple and straightforward.
deGrom’s starts were beautiful yet hard to watch all at the same time in 2018. Balancing the control, power, finesse, and mound control of deGrom against the backdrop of stagnant offense, shaky defense, and an unreliable bullpen to hand the ball to.
It was as if deGrom’s razor-sharp focus and determination caused his teammates to collectively lose theirs. Like they saw his greatness as just a set of coattails to be ridden and not a force to be utilized for a greater goal – winning games.
Despite their worst efforts, the New York Mets did not prevent Jacob from walking away with his first Cy Young award in 2018. The voters recognized that the only team truly capable of beating deGrom last year was his own and the Cy Young voters refused to hold it against him.
But why would they? deGrom’s 1.70 ERA was the lowest in the National League by a wide margin. Combine that with a 0.91 WHIP and 11.2 K/9 in 2018 and we’re really getting somewhere.
Meanwhile, his .4 HR/9 paced the National League, his 10.2 WAR trailed only Mookie Betts and Mike Trout last year, and his 216 adjusted ERA is tied for twenty-third all-time in MLB history for a single season.
With wins no longer carrying the same statistical weight and clout as in the past, the voters were able to look beyond deGrom’s meager win-loss record and appreciate his work as a freestanding piece of art which was to be judged on its own merits, and not on the art gallery’s horrible presentation of it or overall lack of support for it.
Regardless of how poor his teammates played during his starts, deGrom gave Mets fans a reason to care every fifth day. Even if it didn’t usually last nine-innings and we only saw it for half of each of those innings, we truly witnessed individual greatness in Flushing last season which cements 2018 Jacob deGrom in the three-slot for our all-time single-season Mets rotation.