There Out to be a Law

Photo Credit: Keith Allison | Flickr

by: Rich Daniels

Contrary to rumor, Jacob DeGrom is not currently scheduled to guest star on Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, although it would be highly understandable if he were. 

The 30-year-old righty is having one of the most remarkable seasons in recent memory from the standpoint of doing everything within his control to the highest standard. It's the support from his New York Mets teammates that has been criminally suspect in nature.

DeGrom has spent the first three-and-a-half months of the season hotter than a tin roof in Phoenix. 

In 19 starts he has compiled 123.1 innings, 149 strikeouts, and a stunning 1.68 ERA. Add in a WHIP of 0.97 and an opponent OPS of just .550 and you've got a potentially monster season underway. While this earned the four-year veteran an All-Star game election, his performance has only netted a 5-4 record. The amount of self-restraint DeGrom has demonstrated is incredible because the rest of us would be in a state requiring pat-downs every fifteen minutes.

The Mets have put only 72 runs on the board in DeGrom's 19 starts, or only 3.8 runs per game.

Throw out three starts where they scored 8, 8 and 12 runs respectively, and the average support drops to 2.75 runs a game. The Mets have scored three runs or less in 12 of their ace's 19 starts. The worst part of that spanned five weeks and eight starts between May 7th and June 14th where the Mets offense combined for only 11 runs scored. That's less support than a Kleenex jockstrap.

While fans can sympathize with the righty, his plight is not unprecedented.

Some great pitchers have had to endure seasons like this.

Nolan Ryan grunted through the 1987 season with the Astros going 8-16 despite a 2.76 ERA and 270 strikeouts in 211 innings. Ryan was blessed with a steady defense behind him but an offense that struggled to get a double-digit home run hitter in the Yosemite-like Astrodome.

Even the great Cy Young had his own challenging season in 1906 going 13-21 with a 3.19 ERA for the Red Sox.

While no one can question DeGrom's professionalism in facing such a difficult situation, cracks in his armor are beginning to show. 

Earlier this week DeGrom's agent, Brodie Van Wagenen, made public the line of thinking from their camp. Van Wagenen told The Athletic that if the Mets weren't considering signing the ace to a long-term contract, they should trade him. The opportunity to land a pitcher of DeGrom's caliber would transcend the July 31st trade deadline for playoff eligibility making him a target for about 20 teams. At 30 years of age, he would have prime years left to be part of even a rebuilding team's plans and he's made it clear that he wants a long-term contract.

So, if you liked the build-up and speculation that went with Manny Machado's trade, just wait to see a dozen or so teams climbing all over each other to get a shot at Jacob DeGrom if the Mets decide to put him on the market. 

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