NY Sports Day
Joe McDonald

McDonald: The Voters Got It Right With Jacob deGrom

Neil Miller/NYSD

Finally, Jacob deGrom gets a win and finally an awards voting goes right, as the Mets righthander was named the 2018 National League Cy Young Award winner earlier today.

Although it seemed like a foregone conclusion the last few months, there was always some doubt the 30 year-old would take home the prize. Sure, his ERA of 1.70 was outstanding, but the 10-9 record made you wonder if BBWAA voters would have held it against him.

In the end, the record didn’t matter as deGrom received 29 of the 30 first place votes.

“I want to thank the Baseball Writers for this honor,” deGrom said in a statement. “I’m extremely humbled to win this award along with some other great former Mets such as Tom Seaver, Dwight Gooden and R.A. Dickey. I’d especially like to thank my teammates, coaching staff and my family.”

The most amazing part of deGrom’s season may have been the record, since everything else added up to a historic year. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, this was just the 10th time since 1920 that a pitcher had at least 200.0 innings and an ERA of 1.70 or lower in a season. He’s the only pitcher in modern MLB history (since 1900) to have a season with a sub-2.00 ERA, at least 260 strikeouts, 50 or fewer walks and 10 or fewer home runs allowed.

DeGrom is now the seventh pitcher to win both the Rookie of the Year and the Cy Young, joining  Seaver, Gooden, Fernando Valenzuela, Don Newcombe, Rick Sutcliffe and Justin Verlander. And with Dickey in 2012, the Mets become the third NL franchise this century to have two CY Young winners, along with the Diamondbacks (Randy Johnson and Brandon Webb) and Dodgers (Eric Gagne and Clayton Kershaw).

So now the question is if the Mets sign deGrom to a long-term contract, His former agent and now the Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen indicated he would explore that question this off-season. And there is no question he is a deGrom fan, pounding the table for the Mets to do just that when he represented the pitcher and now as an executive.

“Jacob clearly established himself as the best pitcher in baseball for 2018,” Van Wagenen said. “His consistency and competitiveness were unmatched. I’ve always been impressed with his professional and dedicated approach on and off the field in addition to being a tremendous teammate.”  

And you have to also credit Mets manager Mickey Callaway, who received a lot of criticism during the season, but deGrom flourished under the former pitching coach, who helped make deGrom a better pitcher.

“I had the best seat in the house to watch Jacob’s brilliance every fifth day,” Callaway said. “His competitive spirit is unlike anything I’ve ever seen and simply the best season I’ve ever witnessed from a pitcher.”

Callaway isn’t exaggerating either. DeGrom led the majors in ERA (1.70), opponent’s slugging (.277), opponent’s OPS (.521) and home runs per nine innings (0.41). He finished second in the majors in innings (217.0) and fourth in the majors with a career-high 269 strikeouts. He ended the year holding opponents to three runs or fewer in 29 straight starts, the longest single-season streak in major league history (min. 50.0 combined innings in those starts) and hurled 24 consecutive quality starts, the longest single-season streak in major league history.

It’s a well-deserved win.


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