With a few starts left in Jacob deGrom’s season, the New York Mets ace will make his final push for the NL Cy Young.
The only remaining storyline for the New York Mets 2018 season is whether or not Jacob deGrom is going to take home the National League Cy Young award. While he has to be considered the frontrunner for the award, anything can happen in the final few starts of the season.
Now, give the Mets credit first off for making the sensible decision to push deGrom’s start back because of the bad weather. The last thing the Mets need to do is risk deGrom’s health and risk hurting their team for next season if the ace is still wearing orange and blue.
But, that is a different story.
The one factor that could be in deGrom’s favor is that none of the top contenders are in a favorable postseason position. Max Scherzer and the Washington Nationals are no longer in the playoff conversation. Meanwhile, Aaron Nola and the Philadelphia Phillies are 4.5 games back in the NL East and in the NL Wild Card race (as of Monday)
If all three pitchers are not pitching in the postseason, this is a case where the award is going to be given to the pitcher with the best statistical numbers. Since deGrom leads the NL in ERA (1.68) and is second in strikeouts (230) as well as third in innings pitched (188), you have to like his chances.
Another factor to consider is how the aces have performed in the second half. Over deGrom’s last nine starts, he is 3-4 with a 1.67 ERA and has 81 strikeouts to 12 walks (64.2 innings). As for Scherzer, he is 5-1 with a 2.12 ERA and has 89 strikeouts in 10 starts. Finally, Nola is 4-1 with a 2.26 ERA and has 65 strikeouts over the course of nine starts.
There is no doubt that the race for this award is close. Scherzer and Nola have pitched in big games, but so has deGrom. There is a different stress level that deGrom pitches with because the New York Mets rarely score runs when he pitches unless he is the one that is driving them in.
While record should not mean much in the grand scheme of things, it would probably help deGrom if he can get that record over .500. While the BBWAA has leaned more towards analytics as the years have gone on, it will be tough for some writers to look past the record if it is below .500.
Remember the year that Felix Hernandez won his only Cy Young back in 2010. In that season, his record was 13-12. Yes, that is only one game above an average win-loss record, but there at least is some precedent that will make the voting easier.
In two of deGrom’s final four starts, he will face the Boston Red Sox and the Atlanta Braves. Both teams appear to be heading to October but the Red Sox have one of the best offenses in baseball and he somehow doesn’t have a win against Atlanta (0-2, 1.89 ERA). A win over one of those two teams would be another feather in the proverbial cap of deGrom’s candidacy.
While the Mets don’t have much to play for, deGrom at least still has something to pitch for as a Cy Young is up for grabs. There is no doubt that he will finish strong, but can the offense get him one or two more wins to help bolster the case a little more? We will find out.