Game On…with Rob Kriete! – JUNE 17

Jacob deGrom is great. You knew that already, but it seems to be the only way to begin this week’s column. He threw three perfect innings with eight strikeouts against the Cubs this week before coming out with an injury. It seems he may have mildly hurt his shoulder while driving in his sixth run this year. He has six RBIs while only giving up four earned runs all season! I know Shohei Ohtani is a marvel as both a starting pitcher and a hitter. Jacob deGrom, beyond his otherworldly performances from the mound, currently has a .423 batting average to go with those six rib-eye steaks.

The New York Mets have a history of great pitchers that includes Nolan Ryan, Jerry Koosman, Dwight Gooden, David Cone, Johan Santana, and, albeit for just a few seasons, Matt Harvey. Yet, deGrom is being compared to the greatest pitcher in Mets history, Hall-of-Famer Tom Seaver. The moniker deSeaver is becoming a thing for Mets fans.

I never got to see Seaver in his prime. But these last few seasons of dominance from deGrom has him as the best pitcher I have ever seen throw the baseball. Look, Maddux, Johnson, and Pedro are among the all-time greats. Yet, I don’t recall them dominating hitter to this degree or over any 10-start period. Admittedly, this is a problematic argument due to many different factors mostly centered on the different eras of pitching.

But consider the following about deGrom:
– 6-2, 0.53 ERA, 8 BB, 111K, and opponents average .116 against him this year.
– lowest ERA by any pitcher in his first 10 starts since 1913
-fewest innings to reach 100 strikeouts since 1893
-first pitcher with more RBI (6) than earned runs (4) in any 10-start period since at least 1920
– allowing 3.8 hits-per-nine-innings…the MLB record is 5.8 by the Dodgers lefty Sandy Koufax in 1965

There is a lot of baseball left in the 2021 season. The hiccups that come within an entire season have mostly evaded Jacob thus far. But this run of deGrom’s ten starts has been historic if you’re a fan or scary if you are an opponent.

I look forward to seeing where the MVP chants take Jacob deGrom this year. It is rare for a pitcher to win a Most Valuable Player award, even rarer for the NY Mets, who have never had a player win the award.

So, who is the best pitcher you have ever seen?

Be safe, everyone!