My father once told me that starting pitchers back in the day were a sight to behold. Guys would throw complete games in almost every one of their starts. There were no pitch counts or innings limits. The starter was entrusted to go out their a get the win for his team. Nowadays, it’s not the case.
When guys were going the distance every game, the win statistic actually had some value and played a big role in deciding the recipient of the Cy Young Award. While winning 20 games is still impressive in today’s game, the win statistic has become overrated when determining how good a pitcher really is. To back up my bold claim, I present to you the curious case of New York Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom.
Jacob deGrom has solidified his status as a top five pitcher in the MLB by flat-out dominating season, posting a 1.81 ERA and a 0.969 WHIP, while striking out 195 batters in 159 innings pitched. With stats like this, deGrom should easily be considered a favorite for the Cy Young Award, right? Not so fast, says old-school baseball fans.
I know deGrom is having an elite season but his RECORD OHMYGOD pic.twitter.com/yvDqmOXNDb
— Andrew Tashian (@Tashville401) August 14, 2018
Oh, the dreaded win/loss record. It’s true that while deGrom is having an elite season, his record is somehow only 7-7. With a record like that, how can he be considered for such as prestigious award? The answer is plain and simple: wins are an overrated stat.
This season, while he has dominated in most of his starts, the deGrominator has had the misfortune of being constantly let down by an anemic offense, an abysmal bullpen, or a combination of the two. You’re probably thinking, “Oh boohoo. You act like deGrom is the only pitcher who has to deal with stuff like that.” Now normally I would agree with you, but what you’re about to see will completely blow your mind.
I’ve taken the liberty of doing a brief analysis of all of Jacob deGrom’s losses and no decisions this season. This will give you a better idea of how good he’s been, and why he’s a contender for the Cy Young Award, despite what his record is.
*All stats and score are courtesy of Baseball Reference.*
April 10 at Marlins – ND, 6 IP, 4 ER, 1 BB, 6 Ks (Mets win 8-6)
deGrom didn’t have his best stuff during this game, and he left when the game was tied. He was a non-factor in the outcome.
April 16 vs. Nationals – ND, 7.1 IP, 3 ER, 1 BB, 12 Ks (Mets lose 8-6)
New York had a 6-1 lead going into the eighth inning of this game. Although deGrom got into some trouble, he still left with a three run lead. The Mets bullpen completely imploded, costing him the win.
April 21 at Braves – ND, 7 IP, 0 ER, 2 BB, 10 Ks (Mets lose 4-3)
Another bullpen collapse. The Mets had a 3-0 going into the bottom of the eighth. They were in control all game thanks to their ace. Unfortunately, they couldn’t finish the game and get him the win.
May 23 vs. Marlins – ND, 7 IP, 0 ER, 2 BB, 8 Ks (Mets lose 2-1)
All good things come in threes, I suppose. The bullpen gave up two runs in the top of the ninth inning to spoil another excellent outing from deGrom. The severe lack of run support didn’t help either. Keep an eye on that trend as you continue to scroll down.
May 28 at Braves – ND, 7 IP, 1 ER, 3 BB, 8 Ks (Mets lose 4-3)
Four in a row! The Mets bullpen really hated Jacob deGrom during this stretch of the season. The Braves scored four runs in the final three innings, included two in the bottom of the ninth to win in walk-off fashion. Another valiant effort wasted.
June 2 vs. Cubs – ND, 7 IP, 1 ER, 2 BB, 13 Ks (Mets lose 7-1)
The bullpen took the loss here in extra innings, but this one is on the Mets offense. It was absolutely pathetic. You hate to see an outing like that wasted.
June 8 vs. Yankees- Loss, 8 IP, 2 ER, 2 BB, 8 Ks (Mets lose 4-1)
Jake made a few crucial mistakes in this game and deserved the loss, but any pitcher with a half-decent offense should win with a stat line like that. The Mets bats laid an egg yet again.
June 13 at Braves – Loss, 7 IP, 1 ER, 0 BB, 7 Ks (Mets lose 2-0)
No runs from the Mets offense. Zero. deGrom had zero business losing this game for how lights out he was. (Side note: This is extremely heartbreaking to relive and write about.)
June 23 vs. Dodgers – Loss, 6 IP, 3 ER, 3 BB, 6 Ks (Mets lose 8-3)
deGrom was solid in this game, but not elite. He deserved the loss, fair and square. The Dodgers played a great game.
June 30 vs. Marlins – Loss, 6 IP, 3 ER, 1 BB, 8 Ks (Mets lose 5-2)
This was a good game pitched by deGrom, but unfortunately, he made one-too-many mistakes. However, note the two runs from the Mets pitiful offense.
July 6 vs. Rays – ND, 8 IP, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 Ks (Mets win 5-1)
The Mets offense decided to wake up after deGrom left the game. Another game where Jake deserved the win, but his offense couldn’t do anything while he was in.
July 11 vs. Phillies – ND, 8 IP, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 Ks (Mets win 3-0)
*see Rays analysis*
July 23 vs. Padres – Loss, 8 IP, 2 ER, 2 BB, 10 Ks (Mets lose 3-2)
The Mets offense and defense both failed deGrom in this game. He gave up three runs and took the loss, but he probably shouldn’t have.
July 28 at Pirates – Loss, 7 IP, 3 ER, 0 BB, 5 Ks (Mets lose 5-0)
Another solid performance from the Mets ace. However, the offense couldn’t muster up any sort of run support. He takes the loss.
August 3 vs. Braves – Loss, 8 IP, 2 ER, 1 BB, 9 Ks (Mets lose 2-1)
Another wasted gem because of a god awful offense. You really can’t make this stuff up. This guy deserves so much better.
Wow. When you sum it up like that, it really makes the Mets look more pathetic than they already were. How Jacob deGrom hasn’t had a Terry Collins-esque meltdown towards his teammates at this point is absolutely mind-boggling. Can you blame him for wanting to be traded?
It’s obvious that deGrom deals with poor run support and bullpen woes far more than any other pitcher in the MLB. Based on those scores and stat lines, one could argue that he should easily have at least five more wins, and maybe more (you be the judge). If that were the case, his record would significantly better, and everyone would give him the respect he deserves.
Max Scherzer may ultimately win the Cy Young Award, and rightfully so, but to say that Jacob deGrom isn’t a legitmate candidate for the award is asinine. While wins are nice, they are not always in the starter’s control, which is why they need to be taken into less account when voting for an award that is based off performance and excellence.
Photo: Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports