Why Jacob deGrom Should Be in the National League Cy Young Conversation

Assessing deGrom's remarkable 2015 season and explaining why he's deserving of Cy Young consideration.

Jacob deGrom is having a standout season, and he's doing it amid possibly the best pitching staff in baseball.

Not only has he been a consistent cash cow in daily fantasy baseball, but deGrom is also quickly being added to the National League Cy Young conversation, even though he has been pitching for a team that struggled for much of the year on offense. Through the first half of the season, the New York Mets boasted a wRC+ of just 92 (which ranked 20th in the Majors) and a wOBA of just .300 (24th).

Given his impressive numbers and his ability to perform week in and week out while carrying one of the league's weakest batting lineups (in the scope of the season as a whole at least), deGrom should be in contention for the prestigious NL Cy Young award. 

Last Tuesday night, deGrom thwarted playoff hopefuls, the Baltimore Orioles, on their home turf posting an impressive 6 strikeouts, 5 hits, and 1 earned run over 7.2 innings.

That outing whittled deGrom's ERA to 1.98, second only to the seemingly untouchable Zack Greinke (1.67) in the Majors. However, deGrom owns a better xFIP (2.98) than Greinke (3.17) and a better SIERA (3.00 to 3.20). Both pitchers, though, are experiencing elite BABIP numbers (.235 for Greinke and .244 for deGrom), which rank second- and fourth-lowest among 88 qualified pitchers, according to Fangraphs.

If those numbers don't regress toward a more typical .300 (meaning that more batted balls result in hits than they've seen so far this year), then they could keep up their stellar pace. A big reason why is their Swinging Strike rates. deGrom's 12.20% ranks him 12th among qualified pitchers, and Greinke's 11.90% ranks him 14th. Still, deGrom owns the better xFIP and SIERA, even if his ERA isn't quite as jaw-dropping.

But in terms of actually racking up the strikeout, deGrom has been better, owning a K/9 rate of 9.21, which ranks him 15th (compared to Greinke's 8.09, which ranks 30th). deGrom is even better in terms of striking out batters faced, with a strikeout rate (K%) of 26.60% (ranking him eighth) against Greinke's 23.70%, ranking him 22nd.

Not only does deGrom show his prestige in comparison to arguably the most efficient pitcher in the National League -- or at least his stiffest competition for the Cy Young because of the ERA -- but deGrom has also been climbing the National League pitching charts in other significant categories and demonstrating great value added to a surging team like the Mets that have often relied on stellar pitching in their postseason bid.

Here are some of his most relevant marks among the NL's top-10 according to ERA (sorted by xFIP).

Name IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 K% BB% BABIP xFIP SIERA SwStr%
Clayton Kershaw 177.0 11.29 1.63 0.61 32.4% 4.7% 0.287 2.12 2.25 15.4%
Jake Arrieta 168.0 9.11 2.25 0.48 25.9% 6.4% 0.267 2.84 2.97 10.3%
Max Scherzer 171.0 10.58 1.37 0.95 29.7% 3.9% 0.270 2.97 2.69 14.9%
Jacob deGrom 154.1 9.21 1.69 0.70 26.6% 4.9% 0.244 2.98 3.00 12.2%
Gerrit Cole 162.1 8.98 2.11 0.50 24.7% 5.8% 0.311 3.08 3.14 10.4%
Zack Greinke 172.1 8.09 1.51 0.52 23.7% 4.4% 0.235 3.17 3.20 11.9%
Carlos Martinez 148.2 9.08 3.15 0.73 24.0% 8.3% 0.313 3.30 3.41 10.1%
Matt Harvey 154.0 8.24 1.87 0.99 23.2% 5.3% 0.255 3.44 3.42 11.0%
Michael Wacha 151.1 7.61 2.26 0.65 20.6% 6.1% 0.272 3.60 3.74 10.0%
Shelby Miller 158.1 7.73 3.18 0.51 20.9% 8.6% 0.271 3.85 3.96 9.1%

deGrom is third in K/9, K%, and SwSt% as well as fourth in xFIP and SIERA. His walk numbers aren't necessarily elite, but in terms of generating swings and misses (whether on third-strikes or not) and run prevention, deGrom is clearly near the top of the NL.

To top things off, possibly the best indicator of deGrom's exceptional status is his ability to lead the pitching statistics on an already stacked lineup which places second in the MLB in ERA (3.22), fourth in xFIP (3.50), and fourth in SIERA (3.55). 

The impact of "deGromination" is growing both inside and outside of the New York Mets' clubhouse, and he deserves some serious Cy Young consideration.