Already the best pitcher in MLB over the past few seasons, two-time Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom has taken his game to another level in 2021.
Armed with a 100 mph fastball and a devastating slider, the New York Mets‘ ace is primed to make a run at Hall of Famer Bob Gibson’s seemingly unbreakable modern single-season ERA record of 1.12 — set 53 years ago in 1968 — with a campaign that could rank among the best baseball has ever seen.
Will the 33-year-old right-hander break Gibson’s hallowed mark? Will he stay healthy enough to pitch a full season? Will he drive in more runs at the plate than he allows on the mound? Will he help pitch a hapless Mets offense into the playoffs? Will he ultimately be the rare pitcher to take home an MVP Award?
DeGrom pitched five innings of the first game of a doubleheader on Monday, giving up one hit, walking two and striking out six — and giving up zero runs. He’s had 30 scoreless innings in a row.
We’ll have you covered with everything from his record pace to his best performances.
1.12 ERA Watch
DeGrom through 12 starts: 0.50
Gibson through 12 starts: 1.52
DeGrom’s 2021 vs. Gibson’s 1968
So far this season, deGrom isn’t just on Gibson’s record pace — he’s eclipsing it. Here’s how deGrom’s 2021 numbers compare to the same point in the Cardinals ace’s legendary 1968 campaign.
Five amazing deGrom stats
1. He is the only pitcher in MLB history with more RBIs (five) at the plate than earned runs allowed (four) in a 10-start span within a single season, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.
2. DeGrom allowed 0.53 walks plus hits per inning pitched in his first 10 starts of this season. According to the Elias Sports Bureau research, that’s the lowest WHIP by any pitcher over any 10-start span in modern MLB history.
3. According to Baseball-Reference data, deGrom’s ERA+ (100 is league average) was at an unfathomable 686 entering Wednesday’s game. No player since 1947 has finished a season with a higher mark than Trevor Bauer‘s 292 in 2020, and Pedro Martinez’s 291 in 2000 is the highest for a 162-game season in that span.
4. DeGrom joined Gibson as the only pitchers to allow one or no runs in 11 consecutive starts.
5. DeGrom is striking out 14.5 batters per nine innings pitched, more than any other qualified starter this season and on pace to eclipse Shane Bieber‘s all-time mark of 14.198 from last season.
Ranking deGrom’s five best outings of 2021
1. April 23 vs. Washington Nationals
9 innings, 2 hits, 0 earned runs, 0 walks, 15 strikeouts. Game score: 98.
Quote that says it all: “You’re going to be replaying that game at the end of 2021 in one of those greatest games of 2021,” said Mets teammate Brandon Nimmo. “He has to be from a different planet because he just does things that seem out of this world.”
8 innings, 5 hits, 1 earned run, 0 walks, 14 strikeouts. Game score: 82
Quote that says it all: “Unfortunately, we’ve been through this before,” Nimmo said as the Mets’ history of trouble giving deGrom enough run support continued. “It’s never easy.”
7 innings, 3 hits, 0 earned runs, 1 walk, 11 strikeouts. Game score: 81
Quote that says it all: “It’s impressive, I have never seen anything like it,” Mets manager Luis Rojas on deGrom’s spectacular season. “You know you are watching something special.”
4. June 11 vs. San Diego Padres
6 innings, 1 hit, 0 earned runs, 0 walks, 10 strikeouts. Game score: 80
Quote that says it all: “M-V-P, M-V-P” — Mets fans at Citi Field as deGrom mowed down the Padres for a second straight outing.
5. May 31 at Arizona Diamondbacks
6 innings, 2 hits, 0 earned runs, 0 walks, 8 strikeouts. Game score: 76.
Quote that says it all: “I feel like I could have kept going tonight, but discussing [with the coaching staff], we wanted to be smart with it,” deGrom said of leaving after 70 pitches in his second start back from a short IL stint.
What’s next for deGrom?
DeGrom is scheduled to make his final start of the month on Saturday, June 26, against the Philadelphia Phillies. The MLB record for best ERA through the end of June is 0.78 by Dutch Leonard in 1914.