Mack Ade – Jacob deGrom


Good morning.

I’ve told this story a number of times on Mack’s Mets.

Savannah Sand Gnats pitching coach Frank Viola and I were standing on the field around 2pm, five hours before game time on day one of the 2012 season. We were discussing various positive points about the pitchers he had on that staff… Michael Fulmer, Rafael Montero, Logan Verrett, and the infamous Domingo Tapia… when a young man with a larger smile than his blonde hair walked by and Viola said something like, “and then there’s this shortstop… wait until you see him pitch.”

I had no idea what Viola was saying and I watched as the ‘shortstop’ went over to the warmup mounds behind first base. The catcher turned out to be Cam Maron and the first pitch thrown by this kid was a fastball that came in around 95. Maron looked around, also perplexed because he had no idea who was throwing to him and Viola just smiled. Other pitchers stopped what they were doing and walked over to the practice mound to watch the late arrival to camp.

It was like the pitcher made the entire team stop in their tracks by throwing strike after strike at 93+ mph levels.

The shortstop?

Jacob deGrom.

DeGrom is the kind of ballplayer that shows you that you just can’t rely on the ‘best player available’ theory regarding the draft. He came out of Stetson University after pitching only one inning in 2009, but hit .258 in 128-AB while playing short. He did move to the mound for his last year in school (22-yr. old junior) where he went 4-5 4.48. All this got him was a draft call in the 9th round, which still seemed a little high for a no-hit, no-pitch kind of guy.

Obviously, the Mets scouts saw something different and deGrom has gone on to produce identical 1.10-WHIPs in four minor league seasons and three with the parent Mets.

Word out of pre-camp is that deGrom is now 100% after surgery to repair his ulnar nerve. The surgery was not considered career threatening though it did shut him down last September for the remainder of that season.

Brian Joura of www.mets360.com fame has his spin on deGrom and, as usual, he is informative and thorough here exclusively on Mack’s Mets –

Jacob deGrom started 2016 not able to match the previous year’s velocity.  Then he became the no-decision king and then he finished with a season-ending injury.  But he was terrific through most of the year and deserved the All-Star spot that mistakenly was given to Bartolo Colon.  Here were their numbers at the break:

Jake – 93.0 IP, 2.61 ERA, 1.108 WHIP, 8.8 K/9, .644 OPS against
Bart – 98.2 IP, 3.28 ERA, 1.216 WHIP, 5.9 K/9, .719 OPS against

Through Aug. 13th, deGrom had a 2.30 ERA and a 1.050 WHIP in 133.1 IP.   

           Then his last three starts were awful and he ended up getting surgery.
It would be great if the Mets could lock up deGrom to a long-term deal but it probably wouldn’t be in his best interest to do it.  He got a late start to his MLB career, not debuting until he was 26.  As it stands now, deGrom won’t be a free agent until after the 2020 season, meaning a team would sign him starting at his age 33 season.  Why would he sign a team-friendly deal and delay hitting the open market until his age 34 or 35 season?  He’d have to be majorly risk-averse to do that.  Even if he was that terrified of risk, hopefully his agent, looking out for his best interests, would only sign a deal locking up his arbitration years at a slight discount without surrendering any free agent ones.  But would Sandy Alderson do that?

This might be a case where it’s best for all concerned to just go through the                system.

Brian makes a very good point, especially since deGrom will be a Met for four more seasons before turning 33, an age the Mets must be concerned about, especially with their history of starters going under the knife.

Greg Prince, author of Faith and Fear in Flushing, had a different spin - 

         I should probably feel reticent about Jacob deGrom coming off of surgery, but seeing as how he was in the beginning to peak last summer before he started dealing with discomfort, I have a sense that he'll be as good as new, come April.

        2014 arm/2017 head - Pain relieved no structural damage, a nice pre-arbitration settlement, no worries that we know of regarding his infant son (which had to be a distraction for him as 2016 got going), a visibly cool head on the mound, the same repertoire that he availed himself of to great success... yes, I feel good about number 48. Just thinking of him taking the ball has me excited for spring.

I look for him to slot comfortably in as the SP2 starter behind the emerging superstar Noah Syndergaard

Past that, I can’t speculate.


Reese Kaplan said...

Older plus having already endured surgery equals a depressed price -- right up the Mets' alley. It's for that same set of reasons that I would not be at all surprised to see them try to lock up Matt Harvey who may not get quite as much in the free market as he thinks.

Mack Ade said...

Reese -

So, you agree with Brian?

Robb said...

This is a nice story.

Degrom will make 4 mm this year. Assuming he is healthy by the end of 218 year he should have made almost 13 mm in total for his career. This is a lot of money, but its not life changing money in the way that most excellent mlb players have life changing money.

Degrom could go year to year through arbitration about be a very wealthy man by the time he hits free agency or he could have another shoulder injury and end of being brandon webb, who is a wealthy man no doubt but not wealthy enough for his kids to never worry. If i were deGrom and im most certainly not would i sign an extension with 2 near market value options? yes. take me to 35 after having made 80 mm I think getting the guaranteed money at his career point is worth more then the extra money he might make. If matt harvery had stayed healthy this year he'd have been in line for about 5 mm more in arb. thats the downside risk. Harvey is 1 more injury away from never cashing in during free agency. thats what you worry about if youre degrom. You take the kluber deal.

Thomas Brennan said...

Robb, good points. The arm (especially a twice repaired one like Jake's, or two major surgeries like Matt) would make me want to take less and play it safer. Because "less" is an incredible amount of guaranteed $$. Less is more than enough.

Mack Ade said...

Please... someone offer me $8mil a year for 5-6 years... I would gladly do less.

Fred Brunner said...

I wanted to send this photo and article on Jacob Degrom to a group i am amongst but it came out with wrong article came up and no photo from Macks Mets

Mack Ade said...

Fred -

This post was originated here on Mack's Mets.

Send them the link to the page:


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