Jacob deGrom sets an even higher strikeouts per nine rate
deGrom led the National League with 255 strikeouts this past season. It wasn’t a personal high. The 269 strike three calls he had the year prior was the highest of his six-season career.
One area deGrom did improve was in the strikeouts per nine. From 2018 to 2019, this number went up only slightly. deGrom reached 11.3 strikeouts per nine in 2019, up from the 11.2 strikeouts per nine one season earlier.
In 2020, I’m predicting deGrom has an even higher average of strikeouts per nine innings. He can do this by striking out more batters or tossing fewer innings. I would prefer to see the former, but a missed start or two could end up giving him a new high in this number for the upcoming campaign.
deGrom has yet to lead the league in this category. Max Scherzer had been the top guy in the National League for the past two years when deGrom was at the top of his game. At a rate of over 12 strikeouts per nine, it’s a high standard set by the Washington Nationals legend.
It’s still possible for deGrom. This past season, Gerrit Cole fanned batters at a rate of 13.8 per nine. While this historically high total may be too difficult to match or surpass, deGrom is only competing with himself in this prediction.
There’s nothing to suggest strikeouts will go down in the coming year. Batters still swing as hard and freely as ever.
If deGrom is able to set a new high for himself, he may also capture the Mets franchise total set by Dwight Gooden in 1984. In that magical year, Doc struck out 11.394 batters per nine which narrowly beats deGrom’s 11.250 from this past year.
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I fully expect more brilliance from deGrom in 2020. If we’re lucky, it all ends in late October.