The Mets’ ace is the best pitcher in New York and in the entire world.
The largest market in all of sports, New York and all its teams are talked about endlessly. That’s absolutely the case with the city’s two baseball teams.
The New York Yankees are one of the most storied and successful franchises in all of sports. The New York Mets have always been in their shadow, but have won two championships and had truly great players don their uniform.
There is no denying that MLB is exceptionally better when both the Mets and Yankees are good. That’s one of the factors that’s going to make the 2021 season so much fun.
The Yankees are the favorite to come out of the American League. The Mets aren’t far behind them in the National League and are projected by many to be the third-best team in baseball.
Now that both rosters are of similar caliber, comparing their players has become inevitable. However, the comparison that trumps all is one that dates back to last season.
It begs the question: who is the true ace of New York? The Mets’ Jacob deGrom or the Yankees’ Gerrit Cole?
Sorry, Yankees fans. This is one of the few times that the Flushing crew beats out the Bronx Bombers.
Best in New York, best in baseball
If anyone tells you they would rather have Cole as their team’s ace than deGrom, they would be lying. deGrom isn’t just the best pitcher in New York- he’s the best on the planet.
deGrom won the NL Cy Young Award back-to-back in 2018 and 2019. Gerrit Cole has never finished higher than second in voting while pitching in the more competitive NL as well as the less competitive AL.
It would be easier to address the categories that Cole has beaten deGrom in than the opposite.
Cole has passed him in strikeouts, ERA+, FIP, WHIP, and H9 once, HR9, SO9, and WPA (win probability added) twice, and BB9 three times. That’s it.
If we’re being honest, this isn’t even a conversation worth having. Cole is an elite pitcher and emerged as arguably the second-best hurler in the game after his two-season stint with the Houston Astros.
He was amazing during those two seasons, especially in 2019, when he gave deGrom a run for his money and even beat him out in several categories.
Unfortunately for him, he wasn’t the best pitcher on his team, losing out to Justin Verlander for the AL Cy Young Award.
Some may argue that they don’t want to hear about the past. They want to talk about the here and now. That’s not a problem, at all.
Let’s take a look at how Cole and deGrom did in 2020:
- 68 IP
- 2.38 ERA
- 104 K (led NL)
- 183 ERA+
- 2.26 FIP
- 0.956 WHIP
- 6.2 H9
- 0.9 HR9
- 2.4 BB9
- 13.8 SO9 (led NL)
- 2.7 WAR
- 2.70 xERA
- 2.46 xFIP
- 2.70 SIER,
- 3rd in NL Cy Young voting
- 73 IP
- 2.84 ERA
- 94 K
- 149 ERA+
- 3.89 FIP
- 0.959 WHIP
- 6.5 H9
- 1.7 HR9
- 2.1 BB9
- 11.6 SO9
- 2.1 WAR
- 3.08 xERA
- 2.46 xFIP
- 3.21 SIERA
- 4th in AL Cy Young voting
Cole was only superior in BB9, and that 0.3 of a difference is hardly significant.
deGrom’s numbers likely would have been even better had he not run into some injury trouble with his hamstring and neck. He might have even won the Cy Young for a third consecutive season had he been able to stay healthy.
Not a single pitcher in baseball has held a candle to what deGrom has done over the past few seasons. He has been dominant with and without run support, a decent bullpen, good coaching, etc.
Watching him pitch has always been exciting, but it will be even more so now that he is on a team that is a favorite to go all the way.
Proving deGrom is the ace of New York is easy. The numbers back it all up. The true challenge lies in conjuring up a counter argument in favor of Cole, one that won’t hold water.
Whether one wants to compare their careers or their most recent seasons, deGrom emerges victorious.
Could Cole end up stealing the crown from deGrom in 2021? Sure, but it isn’t likely. deGrom hit 102 on the gun during Spring Training, for goodness’ sake! He’s 32 years, old but appears to be improving with age.
deGrom is the clear ace of New York, but there is competition, which will be fun. He and Cole might just be the two best pitchers in MLB, and they both play in the same city and on fantastic teams that are expected to make incredibly deep playoff runs.
They are also both the favorites to win their respective Cy Young Awards. Watching them play in 2021, whether it be head-to-head or against other teams, is going to be a privilege, and a fun one at that.
Even if they do come out of the season as the NL and AL Cy Young Award winners, we should fully expect deGrom to have the better numbers across the board because, to put it simply, he is the best.