By Zach Gewelb
The biggest question left for Mets fans this season is whether or not Jacob deGrom should be the National League Cy Young award winner. He has certainly pitched like a Cy Young award winner. In fact, one can argue he has been the best pitcher in baseball this season. But is that enough for deGrom to bring home the trophy?
In his most recent start, deGrom made history, allowing three runs or fewer for the 26th consecutive start, which breaks a century-old major league record set by the Cubs’ Leslie Cole in 1910.
But, in typical Mets fashion, the team let deGrom’s performance go to waste, ultimately losing 5-3 to the Miami Marlins after their ace surrendered just three hits and two runs while striking out nine in seven innings. With the loss, deGrom fell to 8-9 on the season and lowered his ERA to a league-best 1.71.
Boston’s Chris Sale is next on the list with a 1.96 ERA, and Tampa Bay’s Blake Snell is right behind him with a mark of 2.06. The next-closest National League starter is Philadelphia’s Aaron Nola, who boasts a 2.29 ERA as of Wednesday.
In 29 starts, deGrom has pitched 195 innings, striking out 239 and walking just 44 batters. His 0.95 WHIP is fourth in baseball behind Sale, Washington’s Max Scherzer and Houston’s Justin Verlander. And opponents are batting just .202 against deGrom this year, which is the eighth-lowest mark in baseball.
It’s clear deGrom belongs in the conversation for the Cy Young, but should he win? After all, his eight wins would be the lowest win total for a pitcher to ever win a Cy Young award. And it doesn’t help that his team stinks, with the Mets boasting a 65-78 as of Wednesday afternoon.
His closest competition is probably Scherzer, who, like deGrom, has shined despite pitching for a sub-.500 team. But Scherzer has 17 wins against just six losses while putting up a 2.31 ERA. He also has more strikeouts than deGrom (271 vs. 239) and a lower WHIP, too (0.88 vs. 0.95).
An argument can be made for either pitcher at this point. Their numbers are comparable, but deGrom should be rewarded for his stellar season more so than Scherzer. If deGrom’s closest competition was on a team competing for a playoff spot, I’d have to reconsider. But because it seems as if the competition is down to deGrom and Scherzer, it makes sense to give the award to deGrom.
While Scherzer has some numerical advantages, deGrom’s 1.71 ERA cannot be ignored. His mark is 0.60 points better than Scherzer, which is a huge difference. Plus deGrom has surrendered just nine home runs, while Scherzer has allowed 21.
It’s a close contest for sure, but deGrom should be crowned the National League Cy Young award winner.
Reach reporter Zach Gewelb by e-mail at zgewe