He’s already the best pitcher in MLB in recent seasons, and he’s a two-time Cy Young Award winner, and Jacob deGrom has taken his game to another level in 2021.
Armed with a 100 mph fastball and devastating slider, the New York Mets ace is poised to make a run for Hall of Famer Bob Gibson’s seemingly unbreakable single-season ERA record of 1.12, set. 53 years ago in 1968, with a season that could rank among the best baseball has ever seen.
Will the 32-year-old right-hander, who turns 33 on Saturday, break Gibson’s holy mark? Will he stay healthy enough to launch a full season? Will he tow more runs to the plate than he will allow on the mound? Will it help carry an ill-fated Mets offense to the playoffs? Will he finally be one of those rare pitchers who will take home an MVP award?
As deGrom adds to his impressive roster of accomplishments in Queens, we’ll cover him with everything from his record pace and his best performances to when you can expect to see him taking the mound for the Mets next.
Look: Jacob deGrom vs. Chicago Cubs, 7 p.m. ET on ESPN +
Surveillance by the ERA of 1.12
DeGrom in his first 10 starts: 0.56
Gibson in his first 10 starts:1.52
The best in his first 10 starts: 0.59 (Juan Marichal in 1966)
What’s at stake in his 11th opening: Ubaldo Jiménez’s ERA of 0.78 in 2010 is the lowest of all time in the first 11 starts. If deGrom allows zero or one earned run, or up to two clean runs in at least five innings of work, he will surpass Jimenez’s big run in 2010.
2021 DeGrom vs. Gibson 1968
So far this season, deGrom is not only keeping up with Gibson’s record pace, but he’s overshadowing it. Here’s how deGrom’s numbers in 2021 compare to the same point in the Cardinals ace ‘legendary 1968 campaign.
Five amazing stats from Grom
1. He’s the only pitcher in MLB history with more RBIs (five) at the plate than earned runs allowed (four) in a span of 10 starts in a single season, according to ESPN Data research.
2. DeGrom has allowed 0.53 more hits per inning pitched so far this season. According to Elias Sports Bureau research, that’s the lowest WHIP of any pitcher in any 10-start span in modern MLB history.
3. According to Baseball-Reference data, deGrom’s ERA + (100 is the league average) currently stands at an unfathomable 686. No player since 1947 has finished a season with a mark higher than Trevor Bauer’s 292 in 2020, and Pedro Martínez’s 291 in 2000 is the highest in a 162-game season in that span.
4. DeGrom enters his start Wednesday with the opportunity to join Gibson as the only pitchers to allow one or no runs in 11 consecutive starts.
5. DeGrom is striking out 14.5 batters for every nine innings pitched, more than any other qualified starter this season and on track to eclipse the all-time high of Shane bieber from 14,198 last season.
Ranking of deGrom’s top five starts in 2021
1. April 23 against Washington Nationals
9 innings, 2 hits, 0 earned runs, 0 walks, 15 strikeouts. Game score: 98.
Quote that says it all: “You’re going to repeat that game in late 2021 as one of the best games of 2021,” said his Mets teammate. Brandon nimmo. “It has to be from a different planet because it just does things that seem out of this world.”
2. April 10 against Miami Marlins
8 innings, 5 hits, 1 earned run, 0 walks, 14 strikeouts. Game score: 82
Quote that says it all: “Unfortunately, we’ve been through this before,” Nimmo said as he continued the Mets’ history of problems to give deGrom enough offensive support. “It is never easy.”
3. June 5 at San Diego Padres
7 innings, 3 hits, 0 earned runs, 1 walk, 11 strikeouts. Game Score: 81
Quote that says it all: “It’s amazing, I’ve never seen anything like it,” Mets manager Luis Rojas said of deGrom’s spectacular season. “You know you are seeing something special.”
4. June 11 against the San Diego Padres
6 innings, 1 hit, 0 earned runs, 0 walks, 10 strikeouts. Game Score: 80
Quote that says it all: “MVP, MVP” – Mets fans at Citi Field as deGrom beat the Padres for the second straight outing.
5. May 31 at Arizona Diamondbacks
6 innings, 2 hits, 0 earned runs, 0 walks, 8 strikeouts. Game score: 76.
Quote that says it all: “I feel like I could have moved on tonight, but discussing it [con el cuerpo técnico]We wanted to be smart, “deGrom said after exiting the game after throwing 70 pitches in his second comeback start after a short stint on the disabled list.
What’s next for deGrom?
After Wednesday’s outing against the Cubs, deGrom is scheduled to take the mound on a doubleheader against the Atlanta Braves on Monday. If he takes his normal turn in the rotation after that, he’s scheduled to make his last outing of the month on Saturday, June 26, against the Philadelphia Phillies. The MLB record for best ERA through the end of June is 0.78 by Dutch Leonard in 1914.