There was a new twist to Jacob deGrom’s incredible season on Saturday: a rain delay.
I wasn’t sure deGrom would come out for the fourth inning after rain held up Saturday’s game for close to an hour. I wasn’t sure deGrom should have come out for the fourth inning. Nothing, not a team win, not a deGrom win, not a Cy Young award is more important than Jacob’s long term health or the long term well being of the organization. So when deGrom did come out after the delay, I was scared to death.
I shouldn’t have been. deGrom came out and was nasty for four more innings. And then I was sure he’d be done. I figured that if the bullpen was coming in for the 8th and 9th, there was nothing that was going to be better than what I saw for the first seven, or for the first 20 weeks of the season. Besides, after giving up that unearned run where deGrom had to cover first on an errant throw by Amed Rosario, I was sure that would be it. So I went out to get sherbet.
The sherbet was good. But I should have stayed right where I was. I was probably the most shocked person on the planet to see deGrom out there for the ninth when I got back. He gave up a single to lead off the inning with Wilson “Making A Met Murderer” Ramos coming up. I’m doing math in my head at 104 pitches as to how many batters deGrom can realistically face before he comes out of the game. Then before you know it, four pitches later it was over. Ramos grounded into a double play on the first pitch he saw, and Nick Williams grounded one to Wilmer Flores to end it. deGrom is now over .500 and has an ERA of 1.71. It’s been such an amazing season for deGrom, and for not murdering his teammates he deserves the Nobel Peace Prize.
But will he win the Cy Young?
There are two things we need to understand about Jacob deGrom and the Cy Young award. The first thing is that he doesn’t need an award to validate the kind of season he has had so far, which is incredible. Jacob deGrom has had an incredible season whether voters recognize it or not. And that’s the second thing we gotta understand:
Voters gonna vote.
Not everybody thinks the same way, which is why I think, right now, that deGrom isn’t going to get the award. If things remain relatively the same, and everybody is leading in the same categories that they’re leading now, my feeling is that Max Scherzer is going to win the Cy Young. For as many voters that will look at deGrom’s numbers and vote for him at face value, there are plenty of other voters that will vote for Scherzer because of the name. They’ll vote for him because they’re deathly afraid of voting for a .500 pitcher. They see that Scherzer is leading in enough statistucal categories to justify the vote, and they’ll see that in the categories that deGrom is leading, Scherzer is “close enough”, and they can justify the vote that way.
(Of course, there are those voters that just see wins and will vote for Scherzer just on that. But I suppose if the rest of the Mets roster saw fit to give deGrom enough runs to win the next four or five games for him, then the choice might be harder for some of the voters.)
There will also be the Chris Russos of the world that will say that deGrom didn’t have the season he has had with any “pressure of a pennant race”, because those type of voters will always overemphasize the mental aspect of the game. Always. For me, I think there’s something to be said for pitching through a terrible season and keeping your focus at such a high level. (See? Mindset works in many directions.) The Russos of the world will also say that deGrom will lack that “signature pennant race moment” that voters flock to. Voters will flock to that signature moment. That aspect of it might actually be good news for deGrom.
I know you’re thinking that’s silly, because deGrom isn’t going to have a signature pennant race moment. But … Aaron Nola might. You see, Nola is in a pennant race, and he was on today’s SNY graphic for Cy Young candidates in the National League. He might have that signature moment down the stretch for the Phillies. He might not. But if he keeps this up and gets Cy Young votes, who is he going to take them from? Probably not deGrom, because a vote that deGrom loses means that a voter not only changes their mind but changes their entire philosophical base. I think deGrom voters are looking at the ERA and the FIP and the adjusted ERA+ (all led by deGrom) and they’re not swaying. Voters for Nola will be taken from Scherzer, and that helps deGrom in the long run.
Of course, we have six weeks to go, and anything can happen. But whatever it is, it is. deGrom has been a jewel in a lost season and any platitudes that come after that is gravy. I would personally rather he get a new contract than an award, but that’s just me.
Today’s Hate List
- Vince Coleman
- Guillermo Mota
- Jose Urena
- Adam Eaton
- Jack Clark