When writing about the defending Cy Young Award winner, it’s rare to suggest positive regression in wins could ensue. However, this applies to Jacob deGrom . Despite winning only 10 games, deGrom finished with a 1.70 ERA over 32 starts. He threw 217 innings with 269 strikeouts against 46 walks, a 0.91 WHIP and 2.60 xFIP. deGrom’s swinging strike percentage rose to 15.1 percent, he reduced contact allowed to 70.8 percent while yielding a hard hit percentage of 26.6 percent.

According to Elias Sports, deGrom recorded 19 starts with at least six innings pitched and three runs or less allowed but did not get the win. deGrom also fired 24 straight quality starts along with making 29 starts during which he surrendered three runs or less. Beneath the impressive numbers, what fueled deGrom’s breakout?

It starts with mixing up his arsenal. deGrom threw fewer sinkers, trading them for more four-seam fastballs and change-ups. Unleashing more fastballs instead of sinkers provided more...