After a mystical Cy Young-winning season, New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom deserves to be discussed among fellow legendary pitchers in franchise history, such as Dwight Gooden and Tom Seaver.
A furious four-seamer, a wicked slider, and a devastating change-up. These are the main components that come together to form the repertoire of New York Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom, they are the tools of his excellence. Through these distinct and overwhelming pitches, he is able to put his pure brilliance on display for all to see.
The recent recipient of a five-year contract extension is as determined as ever to erase any lingering doubts of his greatness. Last year was neither the result of luck nor the pinnacle of his career. He is not satisfied with a great season, not even a great career. He strives to be better with every menacing fastball, that somehow seems to defy physics and rise, with every blistering slider that leaves opponents looking hapless, he aims for greatness.
Two All-Star Game appearances, a Rookie of the Year, a Cy Young, and perhaps one of the finest seasons in recent history cannot douse the flames of passion that drive deGrom. He is relentlessly motivated and now that he has his contract he can solely focus on one thing, pitching. The allotted years of his deal coupled with the massive success of his career may well win him the honor of his number 48 emblazoned on the walls of Citi Field, alongside the legendary 41 of Tom Seaver.
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This may all be hyperbole, but it cannot be denied that deGrom is a rarity. He is, was, and will be a member of the Mets. Whether he is remembered for his brilliance in spite of an inauspicious offense, his flowing hair that once cut revealed a serious and determined star, or even his bursting onto the scene with shocking results to pretty much anyone, except Jake of course.
He is more than his velocity or his devastating break, he truly commands the strike zone with a presence found in few others. His utter determination is nowhere more present than in difficult situations. He does not flinch, he just continues to attack and to the joy of the Mets fan, he usually is successful.
Tom Seaver might have been the best pitcher in the history of the sport, he is certainly in the conversation. Dwight Gooden was a sight unseen, something unreal as he captivated the sports world in 1985. Jerry Koosman and John Matlack were also great pitchers in their own right.
The discussion of deGrom amongst some of these men may seem reactionary due to recency bias. The conversation of best-all-time lists may even seem trite and meaningless, but it is just a means to an end in this case. Jacob deGrom has captivated Mets’ fans with a sustained success that Matt Harvey and all the others of his generation cannot boast. This conversation just puts into context how stunning Jacob deGrom’s early career has been and what it projects to be over the life of his extension.
He has won multiple awards and may very well win more, looking glorious on the mound along the way. Challenging the legend of Bob Gibson for the title of consecutive quality starts is not something that should be looked upon lightly. While deGrom’s 26 come in an era where pitchers are pitching fewer innings than ever before, it still is a mark that the likes of Tom Seaver, Mike Scott, and Greg Maddux approached, but could not surpass.
His determination defines his work and thus improves him in the process, both his approach and his talent. Some players simply will not be denied greatness, they were destined for it, and they do everything in their power to attain it. A strong will can do wonders for someone, deGrom is one of these players with an iron will. His mindset above all else is what guides him and it is purely resolute.
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A torrid start to 2019 has seen deGrom stack up 24 strikeouts in merely 13 innings gives the indication that we are in store for much more. With any luck, the newly reconstructed offense of the Mets will provide deGrom with the necessary support to make the ensuing Cy Young race not nearly as close.