Of all the Mets’ young pitchers, I am most intrigued with Jacob deGrom, last year’s NL Rookie of the Year and Wednesday’s starter at Washington. Quiet and unassuming, unlike Matt Harvey, deGrom came out of the bullpen last season following an injury to Dillon Gee and never left the rotation.
Hopefully, he’ll stay in it for years.
Why deGrom over the others?
Well, Harvey is Harvey, and despite his hype, all too often he leaves the impression he’s more interested in becoming a New York media darling instead of a Mets’ star. There’s a big difference. Also, I can’t shake the feeling he’s just passing through Queens until he relocates to the Bronx.
Fair? Maybe not, but that’s the perception.
I get the feeling if deGrom stays healthy he’ll have a longer career with the Mets than Harvey.
The same applies with Zack Wheeler, but for a different reason.
Wheeler’s elbow injury went from bad to worse, and it won’t be until late in the 2017 season until we might really know something about him. By then, it is hoped he would have developed command to go with his natural stuff. So far, that lack of command lead to high pitch counts that stressed his arm.
But, for right now the main intrigue is his health.
As for Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz, yeah, there’s interest. However, the intrigue meeter won’t click on until Sandy Alderson forgets this Super Two nonsense and brings them up here. Until then, they are wishful thinking.
Well, he’s here and now. He seems real; he’s not a diva. We saw what he did last year coming out of nowhere, and it whet our appetite for more. He went 9-6 despite an offense that provided little support and a shaky bullpen. What was eye-popping was a 2.69 ERA and 144 strikeouts in 140.1 innings. That’s dominating stuff. And it continued in spring training as he showed no signs of letting up with a 2.08 ERA, .167 opponent batting average and 0.73 WHIP in 26 innings.
What I also like is he’s not a know-it-all. He exudes confidence without being abrasive, and also a willingness to learn evidenced by working hard on his breaking pitches during spring training. He also took copious mental notes watching Bartolo Colon on Opening Day.
“I watched what Bartolo did,” deGrom told reporters in Washington. “He just located and kept the ball down and threw the ball really well. That’s always my game plan, to throw strikes and keep it down.”
As with Harvey, the Mets will carefully monitor deGrom’s innings early in the season.
“I’ll just go out there and go as long as they’ll let me go,” he said.
And, that might be good enough.
ON DECK: More on the lineup.