Last season, I was convinced the New York Mets were going to roster their first MVP Award winner. They've won seven Cy Young Awards by four different pitchers, but never an MVP. Jacob deGrom was on pace to potentially have the greatest season a pitcher has ever had.
deGrom was 7-2 with a 1.08 ERA in his 15 starts. He struck out an absurd 146 batters in 92 innings pitched. That is good for a 14.3 K/9. He walked just 11 batters all season (1.1 BB/9) while allowing just 3.9 H/9.
The Mets were in first place for much of the season, and deGrom's dominance seemingly every time out was a huge reason why. He allowed three runs or fewer in each of his starts and allowed more than two earned runs once. deGrom did not get crazy run support, he was just deGrominant. Even while missing half of a season deGrom finished ninth in the NL Cy Young balloting. Just a ridiculous season.
1. Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom
If Jacob deGrom stays healthy, there is no reason to believe he can't be in the MVP conversation. He finished fifth in the balloting in 2018 and tenth in 2019, both seasons that resulted in Cy Young Awards for deGrom.
As good as he was back then, he wasn't as good as he is now. He wasn't throwing 100 mph pitches dotting the outside corner or 95 mph sliders making hitters look silly.
Even with that being said, it's reasonable to wonder whether deGrom can in fact stay healthy especially while throwing this hard. He thinks he can, and so do I. But it does come with some questions.
A healthy season for deGrom probably meant the Mets at least play out most of September in contention for the NL East division title if not win it. With the upgrades they have made and the expanded playoffs there is no reason to believe that with a healthy deGrom they will miss the playoffs. This helps his case for MVP as well.
Pitchers rarely win it, but the best ones do. Justin Verlander was the AL MVP in 2011 when he won the pitching Triple Crown. Clayton Kershaw won it in 2014 when he had a 1.77 ERA. deGrom can easily top both seasons that resulted in MVP awards if he can just stay healthy.