Andy Martino of SNY is back with another one of his classic Mets takes. This one involves two of New York’s aces, Jacob deGrom and Gerrit Cole.
Before deGrom took the mound Tuesday night at Citi Field against the Cubs, Martino said this on TV:
Andy Martino said he’d rather have Gerrit Cole than Jacob deGrom on his team. ???♂️ pic.twitter.com/vlUTmaX3Rt
— GENY Mets Report (@genymets) September 13, 2022
That’s not exactly the kind of take any Mets fan wants to hear, now is it? I can see the point he’s trying to make when comparing Cole and deGrom right now, but it’s still a tough line to draw in the sand.
Yes, there’s a lot of value in penciling in an ace for a full season every year. That’s especially the case when their production is predictable and consistently among the game’s best. But still, it’s hard to pass up a pitcher like deGrom, even if he’s healthy and pitching for just half a season.
These two hurlers pitch in different leagues, but for the sake of comparisons, let’s look at their respective statistics.
Through 171.1 innings in 2022, Cole has posted a 3.20 ERA and 1.02 WHIP to go along with a 32.1% strikeout rate and 6.2% walk rate. That performance has been worth 3.5 fWAR. As for deGrom, he’s posted a 1.66 ERA and 0.55 WHIP with a 41.1% strikeout rate and 2.6% walk rate in 43.1 innings pitched (before Tuesday’s start). His performance has been worth 2.0 fWAR.
So even though Cole has been healthy all year and deGrom didn’t return to the majors until August, only 1.5 fWAR separates these two. And yes, I certainly understand the durability aspect of it all, but I don’t think deGrom should be considered injury-prone just yet.
Cole is on track to make 30-plus starts this season for the Yankees, which would be the fifth time he’s reached that number since 2017. The only exclusion is the pandemic-shortened 2020 season when he made 12 starts.
Between 2014 and 2019, deGrom threw at least 140 innings in each season. This includes 200-plus frames in three straight years from 2017-19. He also made 12 starts during the 2020 campaign. When looking at the past decade of Mets pitching, deGrom has been one of the few constants prior to 2021, and he’s quite clearly the more effective pitcher.
If we’re being honest, neither of these hurlers is a bad answer. They’re both among the best in baseball over the past few years. However, Matino’s reasoning behind taking Cole over deGrom feels a little shortsighted, especially since the Mets’ righty is healthy again and dominating at similar levels to last year.