The New York Mets had an intriguing prospect in their farm system in 2014. Right-handed pitcher Jacob deGrom was drafted in the 9th round out of Stetson University in 2010, but needed Tommy John surgery in 2011. After recovering in 2012, he rose three levels in 2013 and started 2014 in AAA. He was never ranked above 12th in the Mets farm system by MLB.com, and he was never in the league’s Top 100 either, but Sandy Alderson saw something special in him.
deGrom made his Major League debut on May 15th vs. the Yankees. Originally he was supposed to be in the bullpen, but injuries meant he got moved to the rotation. He impressed throughout his first summer in the big leagues, heading into a September start against the Marlins with a 2.69 ERA.
deGrom tossed a gem, broke a Mets record, tied an MLB record, and solidified his Rookie of the Year candidacy in that game. It was the moment I knew deGrom was a special pitcher.
Just from watching his first few pitches, you could tell he was feeling good. His motion was free and easy, his command was on point, and his luscious locks were flowing. In the first inning, he retired Christian Yelich, Donovan Solano, and Casey McGehee on fastballs.
He was also throwing 96, which was hard for him back then. Lol.
Marcell Ozuna, Justin Bour, and Adeiny Hechavaria all struck out on fastballs in the second inning. That tied the Mets record for most consecutive strikeouts to start a game with six. Our old friend Jordany Valdespin led off the third and struck out looking at a slider for set the Mets record with seven. Jeff Mathis got caught looking at a sinker to extend the Mets record to eight, which tied the MLB record as well.
Next up was the starter, Jarred Cosart. Naturally, the .125 hitter lined a single into right for the first hit of the game, but the magic had already happened. He would throw seven innings, allow three earned runs allowed, and strikeout 13.
This was the moment I knew deGrom was a stud. There were questions about his command when he came up, but he was picking off the outside corner to righties at will with all of his pitches. He looked so poised, and even a little angry when he gave up the hit to Cosart.
When did you know that deGrom was a stud?