Jacob deGrom wasn’t meant to become the ace of the New York Mets. Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, or maybe even Rafael Montero was destined to win the Cy Youngs that deGrom has earned. However, from the start in 2014, deGrom has made it clear that destinies can be rewritten.
deGrom is different from most pitchers in many ways. Maybe the most impressive is that he has yet to put together an outlier season where you question his abilities. His “rough” 2017 campaign which saw his ERA jump up to a career-worst 3.53 was still good enough to land him the 8th place vote in the Cy Young race.
In regards to being the best pitcher in baseball, deGrom has nothing left to prove except for maybe one thing: his health.
Mets ace Jacob deGrom has only one thing to prove in 2022 and that’s how healthy he is
deGrom made only 15 starts last season and logged a total of 92 innings. As spectacular as the performance was—the man had a 1.08 ERA!—we should have some concern about how healthy he actually is.
Because he underwent the rite of passage with Tommy John Surgery prior to making it to the big leagues, deGrom isn’t viewed as injury-prone. He has had his stints on the DL or IL but nothing as significant as this past season.
Approaching his age 34 campaign, deGrom is at an age where some athletes can enter their twilight. He hasn’t showed those signs. In fact, he has been better in his 30s than he was in his 20s.
But if deGrom is going to miss half the season on a regular basis, pitching at an elite level isn’t nearly as valuable. What he had going on in 2021 may have been nothing more than the typical wear and tear that goes on with any pitcher in their career. We’ll have to hope so. Without him, the Mets aren’t nearly as big of a threat.
Notably, deGrom was clocked throwing harder than ever and on a more frequent basis in 2021. Considering he was limited to only 68 innings the year prior due to the shortened season, we might be able to explain away his long stint on the IL this past year.
It’s a change of pace for deGrom. Always the surest of things in the past, he has another challenge to rise above.