I love looking at Baseball-Reference’s similarity scores at the bottom of each player’s page. It gives us a sense of which players, at each age, a guy’s career numbers resemble most. In the case of New York Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom, I see a whole bunch of older guys, some of whom were already dead before the Amazins existed.
Through age 33, deGrom’s player comparison is a guy named Al Demaree. I don’t really see too much to compare the two. Their records are kind of close and so are their ERAs. Baseball was played differently back then, though. Demaree, in his 8-year career, struck out only 514 batters and walked 337. deGrom has about one-thousand more strikeouts and has yet to even reach 300 career walks.
There’s no exact science to this but I have come to a conclusion: deGrom is a time traveler from the Dead-ball era.
Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom is impossible to compare to other pitchers
Typically, similarities in numbers come from guys in the same era. Not deGrom. You have to travel back 100 years to find guys he matches up with.
Demaree does have a few non-statistical coincidences with deGrom. Aside from sharing the same two letters to begin their last names, each has pitched for a National League team in New York. Demaree spent parts of five seasons with the New York Giants.
Like deGrom, he also only made one trip to the postseason when he pitched in the 1913 World Series. His team lost. Thus far, deGrom has had the same results.
That’s about the end of the similarities. deGrom, despite pitching in a much more hitter-friendly time period, crushes Demaree in just about every category. I wonder, with such different numbers, how could he possibly be the best-matched player with deGrom?
This drew me to one final conclusion: nobody is closer at this age.
There are two current pitchers in the top 10 with scores close to deGrom. Yu Darvish is the second-closest to replicating deGrom’s career through 33 birthday candles and Corey Kluber is fourth. Two other Cy Young Award winners with huge strikeout numbers, these names make a little more sense.
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Not that I’m in any rush to see deGrom hang up his cleats, but I wonder which old-timer from a bygone era his numbers will match most when it’s all over.