1) Best pitchers in the NL East: Jacob deGrom
I don't care that he hasn't been fully healthy since 2019, Jacob deGrom is still the best pitcher in all of baseball. Despite spending 13 months on the sidelines, deGrom has picked up right where he left off in the midst of a historic 2021 season.
Before he got hurt, deGrom was on pace to have one of, if not the best pitching season ever. He had an absurd 1.08 ERA in 15 starts with 146 strikeouts in 92 innings pitched. 14.3 K/9 for a starting pitcher is unheard of. deGrom finishing in ninth in the NL Cy Young balloting despite missing the entire second half tells you all you need to know about the season he was having.
Before that, he was still the game's best pitcher. He won back-to-back Cy Young Awards in 2018 and 2019 and finished third in the truncated 2020 season. He was on his way to winning another Cy Young and potentially an MVP last season.
This season, even with injury concern, deGrom has been just as good as he was. He's able to hit triple digits with his fastball consistently to go along with his wipeout slider that generated just two foul balls out of the 33 thrown in his second start back against the Braves.
In that same start, deGrom retired the first 17 men to face him, 12 via strikeout. Yes, in his first home start after missing 13 months with injury, deGrom faced the reigning World Series champions and struck out 12 of the first 17 batters faced while retiring all 17.
It's unfathomable to think that deGrom would be just as good if not better than he was before getting hurt but that's where we are right now. He's striking out the same 14.3/9 that he did last season. He's walked just one batter in 23.1 innings pitched, and that one batter was at the end of that second start where he had appeared to be tiring.
What deGrom is doing has never been done before and I hope not only for Mets fans but for baseball fans that this guy can remain healthy. Nobody is throwing 96 mph sliders consistently, and nobody is as good as Jacob deGrom is right now in this division or in baseball.