Jacob deGrom is a fascinating player. The 26 year-old was the least touted of the New York Mets‘ young power arms, but right now, he’s pitching like an ace. DeGrom has improved with virtually every start this year.
The converted shortstop was drafted by the Mets in 2010. He was soon struck down by a UCL injury, however, and missed all of 2011 while recovering from Tommy John surgery. He came back strong in 2012 and was pitching in Triple-A by the end of last year. He made his major league debut with the Mets on May 15th of this year, and looked great. Under the spotlight of the Subway Series, he allowed only one run to the New York Yankees over seven innings.
DeGrom has displayed a 95-MPH fastball, a two-seamer that’s only a couple of MPH slower, and a major league changeup that’s reminiscent of Dillon Gee‘s. His breaking pitch has improved in every outing. In fact, every facet of deGrom’s game seems to be improving with every start. His command is sharp, his walks are under control, and his strikeouts are up. DeGrom struck out 11 batters on two separate occasions this year, and he’s fanned 72 in 73.2 innings pitched. Since his worst start of the season, in which he gave up six runs on twelve hits in 4.1 innings to the St. Louis Cardinals, he’s gone 3-2 with a 1.75 ERA.
And oh, by the way, he can handle the bat pretty well too. He’s batting .292, and collected his first MLB RBI Sunday versus the Miami Marlins.
Like all young pitchers these days, deGrom is on an innings limit. The Mets want to keep him under 180 IP this year. He’s thrown 112 between the minors and majors so far. Figuring he gets 15 more starts in the second half and averages six innings per start, he’ll throw about 90 innings, which would put him over the limit. This has led to manager Terry Collins suggesting deGrom may finish the season in the bullpen.
It’s understandable that teams want to protect their young arms, but it would be a shame to lose Jacob from the rotation, especially since the Mets have been playing better baseball lately. Then again, since he’s never thrown 200 innings in a season, it’s possible he could wear down and become less effective. Collins and company have to keep an eye on him and decide if and when a move out of the rotation is necessary.
Until then, deGrom will continue to pitch and grow as a starting pitcher for the New York Mets. If he stays healthy, he’ll be a mainstay in their rotation for years to come.