For weeks now, the Mets Blog-o-Sphere has been buzzing about the possibility of Jacob deGrom competing for the NL Rookie of Year award. While it has been acknowledge by pundits of the game, the fact that Cincinnati's CF Billy Hamilton has been with the big league club all year long, versus deGrom's call-up on May 15th, seems to be enough for Hamilton to hold off deGrom.
However, that all change last night when deGrom tied the modern MLB record for consective K's to start a game. He tied the Astros, Jim Deshaies, when he struck out the 1st 8 Marlins batters in the ballgame. He also become only the 3rd pitcher in the majors this season to K 10+ in 4 innings or fewer.
Why is this so important? Statistically speaking, it gives deGrom something to stand on when comparing his stats to Billy Hamilton's. Theoretically speaking, deGrom's continued success is coming at a perfect time as Billy Hamilton continues to regress and struggle.
First let's look at Hamilton's stats and how it compares to other batting rookies in the MLB this season with at least 400 Plate Appearances (10 total).
|WAR||3.4||3rd (all rookies)|
Speed is the name of the game for Hamilton. As the Reds lead-off hitter, he trails only the White Sox, Jose Abreu, in runs scored and he leads rookies in SB's with 56 which is also good for 2nd in the entire MLB. His Wins above Replacement value is also 3rd best in baseball only behind Jose Abreu and Kevin Kiermaier. He's also in the running for the NL CF Gold Glove (which is another discussion.) That's his claim to the title.
Now let's take a look at Jacob deGrom's numbers. His ranks are bounced against all MLB rookies with more than 130 IP (8 total).
|WAR||2.8||7th (all rookies)|
While Hamilton's argument is based on strong results in a few categories and weak results in others, deGrom can make a case that he's the more well rounded rookie. deGrom is near the top of every pitching statistical category. He only trails the Astros Colin McHugh (go figure) in ERA and WHIP and is 7th overall in Wins Above Replacement.
So there's the statistical argument. Now for the theoretical one. Yes, Billy Hamilton is an everyday player, however, outside of SB's, Hamilton's not really that good of a player. He's had 1 strong month (June) where he posted a .848 OPS but outside of that he's a low .600's guy. He has no power, doesn't take walks, and he isn't efficient with his base-stealing abilities. Yes, he's stolen 56 bases.....but he's also been caught 22 times! That's a 71.8% efficiency rate. Amongst 36 MLB players with more than 15 steals he's 27th in efficiency.
Meanwhile, deGrom has been strong all year long. He's posted quality starts in 18 of his 21 starts, and has only given up more than 3 earned runs in those 3 starts. Despite not having a complete game, he's shut-out opponents on 7 different occasions before being pulled from his starts. He's also getting stronger as we head towards the end of the season posting a 1.29 ERA in September starts. For comparisons, Billy Hamilton is hitting .156 in September with 1 extra base hit, 2 SB and 2 CS.
There's the facts folks......By no means does this mean the race should be locked up. deGrom needs to continue pitching strong in his final 2-3 starts and hope that Hamilton continues to flounder in September.