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Tue Aug-04-20 06:39 PM

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"Poll question: Best pitcher in baseball"



Mets' Jacob deGrom might be better than ever now that he is baseball's hardest throwing starting pitcher

By Mike Axisa

From 2018-19, no pitcher in baseball was more dominant than New York Mets right-hander and reigning two-time Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom. Among the 128 pitchers to throw at least 200 innings the last two years, deGrom had the lowest ERA (by 16 points) and the highest ERA+ (by five points), and he led all pitchers in WAR. It's not particularly close either:

Jacob deGrom, Mets: 17.4 WAR from 2018-19
Justin Verlander, Astros: 14.2 WAR
Max Scherzer, Nationals: 14.1 WAR
Aaron Nola, Phillies: 14.0 WAR
Gerrit Cole, Astros (now Yankees): 12.3 WAR

Three starts into the new season and deGrom has been as good as ever. He's allowed just four runs and 12 baserunners through 17 innings while striking out 22. Monday night he held the Braves to two runs in six innings. He struck out 10 (NYM 7, ATL 2).

I'm sure you're curious, so here's what a 94 mph slider looks like:

I have no idea how anyone gets a hit ever with pitchers throwing like that. Every base hit is a minor miracle.

Anyway, deGrom has always been a hard thrower. Last season he was third among all qualified starters with a 97.2 mph average fastball velocity. The year before he was fourth at 96.7 mph. Jumping from 96-97 to sitting 99 is a significant increase, however, and deGrom credits the velocity spike to being locked in with his mechanics.

"This break -- and even in spring, just working on my delivery -- I actually feel like it's coming out with less effort than in years past," deGrom said during a conference call following Monday's start. "I think just with that time off, I continued to work on my delivery, and feel like everything's kind of in line where I want it to be."

Velocity is not everything, we know that, but it's not nothing either. The harder you throw, the less time the hitter has to react. It really is that simple. Yankees lefty James Paxton is missing about 4 mph in the early going this season and his performance has suffered tremendously. That is not a coincidence. Velocity matters quite a bit.

deGrom had an unconventional development path -- he was a college shortstop who had Tommy John surgery soon after moving to the mound in pro ball, and he didn't make his MLB debut until a month before his 26th birthday -- so he has less mileage on his arm than the typical 32-year-old. Including the postseason, he's not yet reached 1,200 MLB innings.

Pitchers typically lose velocity as they age, that's the nature of the sport, though deGrom is such an athletic freak and he has less wear and tear on his arm than most pitchers his age that he's actually gaining velocity. Will it last? I guess we'll find out. Even if it doesn't, he's shown he can dominate at 96-97 mph. If he stays at 99 mph though, deGrom's best may still be yet to come.

Poll result (4 votes)
Jacob deGrom (2 votes)Vote
not Scherzer (0 votes)Vote
not Cole (0 votes)Vote
not Kershaw either (2 votes)Vote
Cmon. It's deGrom. (0 votes)Vote



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Best pitcher in baseball [View all] , 40thStreetBlack, Tue Aug-04-20 06:39 PM
Subject Author Message Date ID
a 94mph slider is dumb, lol...
Aug 04th 2020
Syndergaard was throwing 95 mph sliders a few years ago
Aug 04th 2020
      The Warthen Slider lives?
Aug 05th 2020
Sadly its looking like Ohtani
Aug 04th 2020
Haven’t seen a swing like that since The Kid
Aug 07th 2020
this shit, right here...
Aug 05th 2020
He's 32 though, not sure how long he can wear the crown
Aug 06th 2020
RE: Best pitcher in baseball
Apr 25th 2021
Top 3 All-Time, maybe deGOAT
Jun 12th 2021
^^^prisoner of the moment and just plain wrong.
Jun 12th 2021

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