Despite falling short of winning a third straight Cy Young Award, Jacob deGrom turned in another stellar season for the Mets and fantasy owners alike. During the truncated season, deGrom won four of his six decisions during his 12 starts logging 68 innings with an eye popping 104:18 K:BB tally, a 2.38 ERA, 2.70 SIERA and 0.96 WHIP. He led the National League in strikeouts, tied for first in games started yielding two earned runs or fewer (ten) and in recording ten strikeouts or more (five), third in WHIP, fourth in ERA plus tied for seventh in outings of at least six innings.

deGrom registered career highs in swinging strike percentage (21.6 percent), strikeout rate (38.8 percent) and a robust 32.1 strikeouts minus walks percent. He also notched a career low 59.8 contact percentage allowed. For a visual representation of deGrom's terrific season, here's his arsenal displaying all his swings and misses from last year:

Using Statcast data, deGrom improved his whiff percentage by almost ten percentage points in 2020 and ranked in the 98th percentile among his peers in the category. Here's how each of his three main pitches fared:

  • deGrom's Four-seam Fastball - 37 whiff percentage, 29.6 put away percent
  • deGrom's Slider - 44.8 whiff percentage, 23.6 put away percent
  • deGrom's Change-up - 43.8 whiff percentage, 24.4 put away percent

deGrom yielded 145 batted ball events allowing 14 barrels (9.6 percent) at an average exit velocity of 88.2 MPH with a launch angle of 11.6 degrees. He excelled in his expected numbers with a .195 expected batting average, .335 expected slugging and .246 expected weighted on-base average (93rd percentile). His expected ERA finished at 2.72 for the second straight season and placed in the 93rd percentile. It's remarkable to see deGrom's average fastball velocity rise by 1.7 MPH and place in the 99th percentile in baseball. Here's deGrom using it plus his whole array of pitches in a record setting performance:

Recognizing how dominant deGrom can be along with his results the last three seasons can be overlooked due to his unfortunate lack of wins during this stretch. According to Elias Sports, deGrom's one of four pitchers in the last 50 seasons with an ERA of 2.10 or lower over a three-year period joining Clayton Kershaw , Pedro Martinez and Greg Maddux. Since 2018, deGrom's 2.10 ERA leads the majors along with his 498 innings. His .552 on-base plus slugging percentage allowed ranks second as does his WHIP (0.94), though it's the best mark in the National League.

Speaking to his win totals the last three years, at least the Mets made the most of his dominance going 12-4 as a team his last 16 starts dating back to September 9th, 2019. deGrom's only 7-2 in this span with a 1.78 ERA in 96 innings with 139 strikeouts against 20 walks. Prior to this stretch, deGrom's Mets only won 12 of his previous 30 starts despite deGrom posting a 2.59 ERA in them. In regards to his outings between September 9th of 2019 through September 11th of 2020, deGrom made 13 straight starts giving up two earned runs or fewer in each.

deGrom's made 183 career starts and yielded one earned run or less in 46.4 percent of them (85 times), the most since 1901. Through these starts, deGrom owns 46 games with ten strikeouts or more. In Mets history, only Tom Seaver recorded more (60). In Major League history, only Nolan Ryan (52) and Randy Johnson (47) notched more double-digit strikeout contests in their first 183 starts. Pretty, pretty good.

All told, in the last three seasons deGrom's made 76 starts over 489 innings with 628 strikeouts versus 108 walks with a 2.10 ERA, 2.98 SIERA, 0.94 WHIP, 32.9 strikeout percentage and 5.7 walk rate. Knowing projection systems use this data to formulate a prediction for the upcoming 2021 season, deGrom remains an elite starter to target in drafts or auctions. Here's how two sites foresee his season:

  • deGrom Steamer Projection - 15-8, 32 games started, 201 innings, 268:53 K:BB, 2.97 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 33.3 K%, 6.6 BB%
  • deGrom ZiPS Projection - 12-6, 28 games started, 176.7 innings, 2.85 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 30.9 K%, 5.7 BB%

Without being privy to how many games the 2021 season will entail, it's nice the two systems provide different totals by starts and innings. Taking the Steamer strikeout rate with the ZiPS walk percentage based on his last three years of data and if deGrom holds the velocity gains, his ERA should come in below the projections above. Due to his skill set, team and the allure of actual positive migration to the mean in wins, deGrom deserves some good luck in the year ahead and merits being one of, if not, the first pitcher taken in redraft leagues.


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