New York Mets: 5 reasons for optimism – Part 2 Starting Pitching

Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, New York Mets. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, New York Mets. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /
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New York Mets
Jacob deGrom, New York Mets. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

Jacob deGrom

I want to get something out of the way first. Jacob deGrom is not going to have the same miserly season this time around as he did in 2018. A 1.70 ERA isn’t sustainable year to year. I like to quote the movie Bull Durham on matters like this:

"“Know what the difference between hitting .250 and .300 is? It’s 25 hits. 25 hits in 500 at-bats is 50 points, okay? There’s six months in a season, that’s about 25 weeks. That means if you get just one extra flare a week – just one – a gorp… you get a groundball, you get a groundball with eyes… you get a dying quail, just one more dying quail a week… and you’re in Yankee Stadium.”"

Reverse that for pitchers. A groundball just makes it under the second baseman’s glove, or the wind happens to be blowing out on a particular day and the opponent scores one more run than they would have because a ball barely carried over the fence. Bob Gibson is a good example, he finished 1968 with a record 1.12 ERA. The following season his ERA went up by over a run to 2.18 and he finished third in the majors.

deGrom will have a fall off. Giving up more runs doesn’t mean he’ll have a bad season, if its the same increase as Gibson, his ERA will still be in the top-10. I expect the lessons deGrom learned by pitching in tight games last year will serve him well. If he wins a 3-2 decision instead of taking a 1-0 loss, he’ll be (as well as everyone who follows the team) very happy.

The experience of pitching in close games will help him win more of them. He certainly has the stuff for it. DeGrom gets his fastball up into the high 90’s. The heater is mixed in with a nice changeup. Additionally, he has a nasty slider that comes in at close to 90 mph. Finally, if those pitches weren’t tough enough, deGrom also has an excellent 12-6 curveball.