PORT ST. LUCIE – Jacob deGrom pitched a minor league game today and looks poised and ready for the 2017 season. He threw all of his pitches with outstanding command including his change up which he used almost exclusively in his final inning of work.
Because this was a minor league game I got a chance to get a front row look at deGrom and I must say his performance was downright awesome–especially his breaking ball which rolled right off the table. More than that, deGrom looked armed and ready in a way he did not look a year ago and he admitted that after the game saying that he never quite felt right last year.
He also mentioned that he wants to throw 200 innings in the regular season this year and joked that he wanted to take a page out of The Bartolo Colon playbook and become an inning eating machine. A big part of that is having command of his entire arsenal of pitches which he clearly illustrated on this day. I get the sense that people that follow deGrom sometimes misinterpret his passive off the field personality. That is certainly his style away from the ballpark but on the field he is a competitive yet very focused pitcher that reminds me so much of a Met pitcher I followed growing up-Jerry Koosman
Koosman was sometimes overlooked by the experts because of the personality of Tom Seaver but he was a great big game pitcher and I see that in deGrom. Much like Koosman, he is also a great teammate and when you walk around the locker room, you will hear players give unsolicited feedback that cements that notion.
Baseball can often do a great job of connecting generations with history. I hope my older readers will take this opportunity to tell their children and grandchildren about Jerry Koosman and my younger readers will realize their Koosman is Jacob deGrom.