Tom Brennan - Jake deGrom, Future Mets Hall of Famer?


Tom Brennan - Jake deGrom, Future Mets Hall of Famer?

As we head into post-All Star Game baseball, I read an article talking about the likelihood that, due to shorter outings by pitchers and the 5 man rotation, the days of 300 wins for a starting pitcher to get in the Hall of Fame being a requirement has gone out the window, and 200 wins may not even be a minimum starting pitcher's standard for the Hall in the future.

The article goes on to discuss 2017 All Star Game starters Max Scherzer and Chris Sale as guys who may well be on a Hall of Fame trajectory despite the likelihood of getting lower career wins than most current Hall of Famers.

Which made me think:

Why not Jake deGrom as a future Hall of Famer?

Jake, in 93 career starts, is a fine 39-25, 2.91 career ERA.

He ought to have more career wins, closer to 50, but a weak offense and sometimes shaky bullpen pre-2016 left him with a lot of no decisions, unhelpful to aspiring Hall of Famers.

Heck, even this year, he was 2-1 with 5 NDs in his first 8 starts, leaving me screaming and deGrom at that point with only a very low 55 decisions in 84 career starts (65%). Happily, he has had 9 decisions in his last 9 starts, going 7-2, raising his career decision rate to a still pretty low 69%.

Jake's fine career 2.91 ERA has been inflated by two things:

1) his deteriorating performance in late 2016 due to an ulnar nerve condition that required surgery in early September.  Pitching great thru August 13, 2016, with a 2.30 ERA, his arm issues resulted in 16 earned runs in his last 15 innings (3 starts)  of 2016, rocketing his stellar ERA to 3.04.

2) Three uncharacteristically bad starts in 2017 amongst his 17 starts this year.  In those 3, he allowed 20 earned runs in 13 IP, and as a result his 2017 ERA is at 3.65.  My guess is it will be closer to 3.00 by year end.

Those 2 factors may be considered aberrations, in my view.

So - how does he compare to Max Scherzer? Pretty well. 

ERA? Max is a stellar 135-74, but his career ERA is 3.30, 0.39 higher than Jake's to date.

Career WHIP? 1.12 for Max, 1.12 for Jake, although Max's 0.78 this year is far better than Jake's 1.22 (mostly due to Jake's 3 bad 2017 starts).

Strikeout rate?  Max has 2,054 in 1,825 innings (10.1/9 IP), while Jake has 622 in 590 IP (9.5/9 IP).  Jake is not quite there, but very close.  And he is a great 10.5/9 IP this year.

Max's 4 years older than Jake and 145 decisions ahead of Jake...it is unlikely that Jake will have much more than 100 decisions in the next 4 years, much less 145 - if all goes well, let's assume 100 decisions, so he will still be low in career decisions by Max's age, even in an era where relatively low wins could get you in the hall of Fame. Jake has to pitch really well for a long time to come to get another 200 career decisions and with that real Hall of Fame consideration based on the required longevity factor.

Why so many fewer decisions for Jake than Scherzer? 
Jake was a month short of 26 when he debuted, a very advanced age for a hurler to try to someday get into the Hall. 

Why so late?  His first minors year at age 22 ended after just 26 innings with a need for Tommy John surgery that kept the converted college shortstop's career from really starting until a return to the minors just prior to his 24th birthday with a stellar 1 hit, 6 shutout inning effort with Savannah in A ball. 

In the next 24 months, he went from that first post-TJS start to the majors, an extremely fast climb for a Mets minor league starting pitcher.

That late MLB career start may well cost him the Hall of Fame, even if all goes well from here on out. 
But keep in mind that there is a pitcher in the Hall who went 165-87, 2.76 ERA, achievable career numbers in my opinion for Jake if the Mets have both solid hitting and a strong pen to support him in the years ahead.

That pitcher's name?  Sandy Koufax.

Long-term great health for Jake is the key - another guy with a great career start and Mets pedigree, Johan Santana, broke down physically and his Hall of Fame trajectory crashed and burned.  Same can be said for a Mets hitter, David Wright.  Great AND durable is essential for the Hall.

Here's hoping deGrom is a pitching Iron Man for the rest of a long career, and ends up in Cooperstown.  As a career Met!!

(Coincidentally, a very interesting Q&A article today in the NY Post about the same gentleman, Jacob deGrom: check it out)



1) TIM TEBOW (you may have heard of him) extends his hitting streak to 11 games, has a hit in both games of a DH win (2 seven inning games), the latter hit a walk off homer, much to the delight of the delirious crowd.  After 16 St Lucie games, he is .327/.421/.551, so I encourage you to draw up some revised prognostications regarding Sir Tim. 

I won't say I told you so.  Here is the surreal moment video:


2) Masterful, dominating, overpowering CHRIS FLEXEN loses a masterful, dominating, overpowering no hit bid when he surrenders a homer in the 8th in his AA game.  Like Rosario and Smith, I that the think masterful, dominating, overpowering Flexen (5-1, 1.82 in 9 AA starts) is ready for his leap to the bigs right now.  Get him up here, and push Seth Lugo or Zach Wheeler immediately to the pen?


Zozo said...

I would consider trading the Future HOFer DeGrom along with either Blevins or Reed to the Astros and bring back 3rd basemane Bregman, Outfielder Kyle Tuckerand pitcher Martes.


Matz and Reed to Red Sox for Devers (3rd), Groome (P) and Chatam (SS)

I would trade one of them, preferably Matz. World Series teams only really need 2 healthy Grade A pitchers to win, but you would need an awesome offense with great defense to carry the rest of the load.

Mack Ade said...

Tom -

We can always count on Zozo for a juicy trade or two when he comments.

I too see the possibility of deGrom becoming an Astro and I will write about that on Monday.

As for Flexen, I think he's the next 'sure thing starter' that will come out of the system, but I don't expect his fragile arm to be rushed in a bum year like this one. Maybe a September start as a prelim but nothing more.

No, IMO, Flexen will win a rotation slot out of camp next spring.

The other two 'slam dunks', IMO, are Corey Oswalt and, in 2020, Merandy Gongalez.

Mack Ade said...


Also... nice piece, Tom.

Thomas Brennan said...

Zozo, I'd prefer to keep Jake over Matz, too, but EVERYONE can be had for the right price. The Houston package you suggest, to me, is inadequate. Bregman looks like a real catch, Tucker not so much, and Martes may turn out to be real good, but might not.

deGrom for Judge? I'd consider that :) - if the Yanks throw in Sanchez and we throw in d'Arnaud. I might even include....Tim Tebow!

Thomas Brennan said...

Mack, thanks.

I am a big proponent in getting guys really broken later in a season, to avoid the break in adjustment period virtually everyone not named Jake deGrom needs to transition to the majors. So I'd like Flexen to get up here ASAP and take his bumps and bruises (if any) in 2017. He only has 9 starts this year, so with his low innings, he should have plenty left in the tank for 2017, especially after his high innings of 2016.

Thomas Brennan said...

On Tebow, his 16 game run with St Lucie made me think for the first time: HOW SOON GO FROM a TO AA FOR HIM?

To do that, assuming he continues to hit decently over the next few weeks, I would promote OF/IF Kevin Taylor to the AAA outfield, demote Pat Biondi to St Lucie (hitting .189, going nowhere).

That way, Tebow could play daily in AA in August. After all:

He needs some real AA time if the Mets are to call him up in Sept :)

Thomas Brennan said...

One guy whose playing time in AAA may be in jeopardy is Hobie's own fave Victor Cruzado who is in a 4 for 44 slump.

One guy who is gaining on Cruzado in my opinion is a guy I'd written off in late May - Champ Stuart - who in AA in 29 games in June and July has a .385 on base % and has stolen 28 of 31 in just 64 games this year. Nine assists and just one error for the defensively excellent Champ this year, too - he has a ways to go, but is starting to look very, very interesting to me.

Mack Ade said...

Tom -

You may get your wish for one more promotion for Tebow to Binghamton. Sort of a travelling Tebow tour (3 T's).

Zozo said...

The younger Tucker is their number 3 prospect and is supposed to be better than his brother

Reese Kaplan said...

Any deal for deGrom to Houston better start with Jose Altuve or George Springer or Carlos Correa. :)

Thomas Brennan said...

Mack, the team went crazy last night when he homered, and the crowds love him - and pay. Attendance has tripled and quadrupled - if I were Binghamton, I'd sure want some of that - this year, too.

I don't want to overestimate Tebow, but right now, he seems like he already is about at the level of a Kirk Nieuwenhuis, hitting and getting on base, but NOT striking out like Kirk (just 9 in his 16 St Lucie games).

Zozo, I did not realize there was a younger brother! But I am so hesitant to see the team trade a Seaver-similar pitcher in deGrom. We already saw the Mets trade Seaver for 3 OK guys - very bad move. I want the best for him, or nothing.

Thomas Brennan said...

Zoz, back to your first comment about trading with Astros - I would trade Matz for those 3 guys. Wonder if the 'Stros would want that?

David Rubin said...

Thomas- some great thoughts, as usual.

I sadly think deGrom will come close stats-wise to a HOF-like career but without getting close enough to even the reduced stats necessary for election in the future, unless he stays on his current trajectory until he's 38 or so. Even a guy like Jerry Koosman had great stats, especially figuring in the fact that he played on horrible teams for the majority of his career but received practically no consideration when his time came. It's circumstances of a late start, as you said, more than his eventual numbers that sadly will take him out of consideration, most likely.

Regarding a trade with Houston, from the commments, the problem with trading a sure-thing pitcher who remains one of the 5-6 best in the NL when healthy and possessing team control at more than fair contract terms, for unproven prospects, regardless of how great they are in the minors, is something that a rebuilding club does, not one that wants to contend in the near future. Believe me, the team does NOT want to rebuild, believing that they need to retool this offseason, get healthy and add key pieces via trade, minor league promotions and limited free agency. As Reese said, unless the trade included guys named Altuve or Springer, there's no way I can get behind that deal. I'm not going to debate here what the right process for this team to undergo in this space is, but let's just say that if you look at the Quintana deal and the Sale deal, both players came from a team that had given up at the major league level and whose GM was tasked with virtually a complete rebuild. If that's the plan for the Metsies, then their floodgates could open wide open and every team's top prospects would be up for bid to them. It's not happening, sadly, but we'll talk more about this late in the season when we start diagramming our thoughts for 2018 and beyond.

Zozo said...

Does Champ play Center?

Zozo said...

No way are you getting any of them, not even up either. If I was Houston I would ask for DeGrom plus for anyone of those guys.

Zozo said...

I would trade at least one of them 2 pitchers and then trade for a Verlander and Dee Gordon and take both their whole contracts back so I would give minimal prospects in return. So that way we still are contenders for next year and keeping our core young and full of potential.

Lineup could be

Dee Gordon 2nd
Rosario SS
Conforto RF
cespedes LF
Devers or Bregman 3rd
Smith 1st
Tucker CF
Lucroy/Rivera C

Nimmo on bench

Starting Five of

Harvey/ Gsellman/ Martes/ Lugo

Thomas Brennan said...

Maybe Rivera is our future 3B...he is a .314 career hitter.

And Jake was vintage Hall of Fame tonight!

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