The Surprising Rise of Jacob deGrom: How Good Is He?
Already teeming with pitching prospects throughout their minor league system, another New York Mets starter has emerged as one of the better young arms in the National League.
Jacob deGrom has been straight-up studly for the Mets in 2014. The 26-year-old rookie has started 14 games this year, including Sunday's 6.1 scoreless innings against the Milwaukee Brewers, and has put up a 2.79 ERA and an 83/31 K/BB ratio over 87 innings. In his last seven starts, DeGrom's ERA is 1.37 and in his last four it's 0.66, with 33 strikeouts, five walks, two earned runs and 21 hits in 27.1 innings pitched. He also has the best strikeout rate (33%) among all qualified starters in the month of July.
For the season, DeGrom's nERD of 1.36 is best among rookie starting pitchers, too.
Then, there's this.
Lowest Percentage of Swings Put in Play- July 2014 Jacob deGrom 29% Clayton Kershaw 31% Cole Hamels 31%â€” Mark Simon (@msimonespn) July 28, 2014
The kid has been dealing.
Among rookies, deGrom has made more starts than any other starting pitcher, and has put up numbers that are as good, if not better, than all of them.
|Jacob deGrom (NYM)||14||87||2.79||83||23.1||8.6||1.4||1.36|
|Brandon Cumpton (PIT)||10||56||4.98||34||13.7||6||0.8||0.84|
|Tyler Matzek (COL)||9||54.2||4.28||35||15||7.3||1.1||0.77|
|Mike Bolsinger (AZ)||9||49.1||5.47||45||20.4||6.8||0.4||0.85|
|Jesse Hahn (SD)||8||46.2||2.12||51||27.1||10.1||0.9||0.99|
|Carlos Martinez (STL)||7||32.1||4.45||34||23||10.8||0.4||1.13|
|Odrisamer Despaigne (SD)||6||38||1.66||20||13.2||10.5||0.3||0.44|
|David Hale (ATL)||5||28.1||2.22||18||15.5||10.3||0.5||0.79|
deGrom leads all rookies with 83 strikeouts and 87 innings pitched. His strikeout percentage (K%) and fielding independent pitching (FIP) is second among National League rookies, his WHIP and batting average against is fifth, and he's left 80.8% of all runners on base, second-best against NL rookie starters.
According to FanGraphs, deGrom's fastball averages 93 miles per hour and has a peak velocity of 95 to 96, with a slider, curveball and changeup that has been fooling hitters and staying off the fat part of the bat. Like most pitchers, he pitches off his four-seam and two-seam fastball, mixing in his slider to right-handers and his change-up to lefties, with the occasional curve making an appearance as well.
So far, he's done equally well against both right-handers and left-handers, with a .231/.315/.346 slash line against lefties and a .249/.308/.345 slash against lefties. And he's actually been a little unluckier on balls put in play than most, giving up a .310 batting average on balls in play, a bit higher than the league average (.296).
So looking ahead, how does deGrom project for the rest of the season?
Our own projections predict his K% will drop a bit and his walk rate will increase, both normalizing a bit closer to league average. We also project a 4.08 ERA and 1.43 WHIP over his last 46 innings (give or take an inning here or there), giving him a season-ending line of a 3.40 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 120 strikeouts and 48 walks over 127 innings.
He likely won't be the ace of your fantasy rotation, but he should still be a good source of strikeouts, with an ERA that should be in line with most number three or four starters. Take advantage of him now, before the NL gets a second and third look at him.