Jacob deGrom has ditched his flowing locks in favor of a new, short-haired look. Will this drain him of all of his power? How will the Mets ace perform without his trademark locks?
The 2014 season saw the rise of a relatively unknown 25-year-old. Called up in the place of Gonzalez Germen to eat innings for the Mets in a long relief role, Jacob deGrom was thrust into starting action after Dillon Gee was bitten by the injury bug.
Pitching at Citi Field against the New York Yankees is no easy task. Doing so in your MLB debut would seem to be even more strenuous. But this young man performed admirably in his first opportunity on the big stage. Through seven innings, he surrendered only one run on four hits, while striking out six. He also picked up his first major league hit in the same night, snapping a 0-for-64 drought by Mets pitchers, the worst start to a season in MLB history.
And for those that believed the performance against the Yankees was just a flash in the pan for this right-hander, he would go on to prove us wrong again and again. He followed up his stellar debut by winning the National League Rookie of the Year in 2014. Then, he one-upped himself once more by grabbing an All-Star selection in 2015. This man has been the New York Mets most consistent pitcher over the last four seasons and his name is Jacob deGrom.
When it comes to deGrom it sometimes feels like the Amazins’ plucked him from obscurity, sprinkled some magic fairy dust, and turned him into the Cy Young contender that he is today.
Over the years, I have found myself fascinated by the ability of MLB scouts to identify young men with enormous potential. Scouts are a rare breed, combing the Earth for even the faintest twinkle of talent. Who could have ever predicted that a future staff ace would be found playing shortstop for the Stetson University Hatters of DeLand, Florida?
Nevertheless, the former ninth-round pick (2010 MLB Draft) has become one of our favorite players to watch. His tall, lanky frame combined with a compact wind-up is almost therapeutic to witness. But most importantly, how can anyone not have been mesmerized by deGrom’s flowing locks?
Deeply rooted in MLB tradition is the baseball cap. It remains an integral part of a team’s uniform and not just because New Era is trying to meet their sales figures every year. Baseball is synonymous with the baseball hat, sometimes at the cost of some of the finer scalps in the game.
However, there are a few players that possess such fine heads of hair that they are able to transcend these follicle-concealing traditions.
deGrom was one of those men.
His long, flowing dark-brown hair was rumored to not only have superpowers but be the very source of said power. In some cases, the opposition believed that it was an advantage on the mound. Back in 2016, one anonymous player told Bob Klapisch of the Bergen Record just how distracting deGrom’s flow was:
“First of all, I see this guy on the mound who looks like a stick figure,” the hitter said. “I mean, you don’t see major league pitchers who look like that. And he’s got that hair – you can’t not look at it, it’s everywhere. It bothers me when I’m trying to pick up the ball out of his hand. All I see is hair.”
It wasn’t long after deGrom’s emergence to see his influence filter out amongst his teammates. By the time Noah Syndergaard debuted almost exactly one-year later, he was sporting his own version of deGrom’s flow, the only difference being in blond. The same went for Robert Gsellman who was seen as deGrom 2.0 after posting strong rookie numbers out of relative obscurity while bearing a resemblance thanks to eerily similar long, dark hair.
Then, everything changed. The end of the 2017 season came with a bit of relief, as an injury plague caused every Mets fan to suffer the fate of watching their team trudge through an uncompetitive 162 games. But it also came with horror.
Jacob deGrom committed murder on that fateful day. He laid his magnificent mane to rest after chopping it all off.
And the biggest Mets news of the offseason is Jacob deGrom's haircut. Teammate Jose Reyes captured this from Citi Field today. ✂️✂️✂️ pic.twitter.com/TI3h5C0IJL
— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) October 2, 2017
What did we ever do to deserve this?
He promised. He promised us that he would never part ways with his glorious locks shortly after it was revealed that it could be giving him a leg up on the competition. Now we all must navigate a reality in which Jacob deGrom has *cringes before typing this* short hair.
Before you become too overtaken by grief to continue reading, there may be a silver lining to this move. While speaking to Brian Niemietz of the New York Daily News, deGrom asserted that after performing research, chopping off his hair may actually improve his stuff.
“I did some research and I found that shorter hair actually will speed up my delivery and add two more miles to my fastball.”
In 2017, deGrom’s fastball sat at an average of 95.53 miles per hour. Just imagine the potential of the 29-year-old ace ticking his heater up to 97 consistently.
If that’s not enough to make you feel better, perhaps Shaun White’s latest Gold Medal performance at the Winter Olympics will.
Shaun White's gold medal should sooth the worries of Mets fans who think Jacob deGrom won't be as good with short hair.
— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) February 14, 2018
But for those remaining hopeful that the Mets’ ace will regrow a flow as marvelous as it’s predecessor, it seems unlikely for now.
deGrom had this to say when asked about sticking with his new look.
“Right now I am,” he told Mike Puma of the New York Post. “Let’s see how the spring goes.”
We are all sad to say goodbye, but hopefully, it’s for the best. deGrom was one hell of a pitcher with long hair. Let’s all hope that he is just as good if not better with short hair. I, for one, will reluctantly accept the short-haired version of Jacob deGrom’s bobblehead on July 7.
And for those who really enjoyed reading this, you should be sure to check my fellow ESNY colleague Jonathan Macri’s piece entitled “Navigating the New York Knicks’ new post-Kristaps Porzingis reality”