When we consider the potential of the Mets’ young pitching, Jacob deGrom might have the highest ceiling of all. Imagine what he could have done to the Phillies this afternoon had he been pitching with his best stuff.
DeGrom threw 6.1 scoreless innings in the Mets’ 2-0 Opening Day victory over Philadelphia, and did it with what he called a too-hard change-up, but with his usual spotless command.
“I didn’t think he had his “A” game,” manager Terry Collins said of deGrom, who gave up seven hits, one walk and with only three strikeouts.
“He competed,” Collins continued. “He didn’t let down. When he had to throw a strike he threw a strike.”
A pitcher will make roughly 34 starts in a complete season, and have dominating stuff in perhaps a third of them. When he can win when he’s a little off, it speaks volumes to what kind of pitcher he can be.
“It tells you he’s pretty good,” David Wright said. “It’s a sign he has good command.”
That deGrom only had three strikeouts meant his pitches had sharp, late-breaking movement because he was able to get the Phillies to put balls in play without getting a good swing at him.
“I thought about my game last year and I try to continue to get better,” said deGrom. “When you don’t have it, then it becomes a mental battle.”
DeGrom, last year’s NL Rookie of the Year, is now 2-0 with a 1.37 ERA in three career starts against the Phillies. He’s turned out to be a reliable innings eater having gone at least six innings in his last 14 starts, the second longest streak in the majors.
The Mets are understandably proud of their young pitching, but for all the talk about Matt Harvey, deGrom has as much upside as any of them, and could be around the longest.
When it comes to Harvey, a popular school of thought is he’ll leave for the Yankees once he becomes a free agent. And, Zack Wheeler is currently on the disabled list after undergoing Tommy John surgery and won’t be ready until late June of next year at the soonest. That means we won’t have a real picture until sometime in the 2017 season.
That leaves deGrom, who just might have the biggest upside of all.