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Where Does Jacob deGrom Rank in Mets History?


The accolades for deGrom were quite a few. He was the National League’s Rookie of the Yr in 2014, won the league’s Cy Young Award in 2018 and 2019, was an All-Star 4 times, led the league in strikeouts twice and, in 2021, was difficult for essentially the most dominant season of the integrated era (1947 to present), with a 1.08 E.R.A. in 15 starts, when arm injuries forced him to be shut down.

But is that enough to say he was higher than Dwight Gooden? Or more essential to the team than Jerry Koosman?

The query, after all, is entirely subjective. But breaking down where Mets starters fall in various categories is a fun method to consider value for a team that has seen top pitchers initially of their careers (Nolan Ryan, David Cone, Zack Wheeler), and at the tip (Pedro Martinez, Tom Glavine, Johan Santana), but has had only a few stick around long enough to have the lasting image of them be within the Mets’ blue and orange uniforms.

Tom Seaver’s performance in 1969 would make a high quality pick for one of the best single season in club history. He went 25-7, had a 2.21 E.R.A., was an All-Star, won the Cy Young Award, finished second in voting for the N.L.’s Most Useful Player Award and led the team to a World Series title.

Statistically, nevertheless, you might make an argument that it wasn’t Seaver’s best 12 months, let alone one of the best one by a Mets starter.

Seaver’s 7.2 wins above alternative in 1969 are tied with deGrom’s 2019 WAR for the seventh-best in team history, in accordance with Baseball Reference’s formula. Seaver was more dominant, when factoring in league, ballpark and teammates, in 1975 (7.8), 1971 (10.2) and 1973 (10.6), his best 12 months.

DeGrom’s best season by WAR got here in 2018, when he had 9.5 (and a 1.70 E.R.A.), and the team’s top 10 list also includes Jon Matlack in 1974 (9.1), Santana in 2008 (7.1) and Martinez in 2005 (7.0).

But all of those terrific performances trail Gooden’s outrageous 1985 season. Only 20 on the time, Gooden went 24-4 with a 1.53 E.R.A. He led the league in innings and strikeouts, was unanimously named the N.L.’s Cy Young winner and had an eye-popping 12.2 WAR, which is the best mark of the integrated era and is the fourth best by a pitcher since 1901, trailing only Walter Johnson (twice) and Cy Young.

DeGrom’s most dominant performance got here on April 23, 2021, when he threw a two-hit shutout with 15 strikeouts against the Washington Nationals, a team that went on to win the World Series that season. Using the statistic game rating, which rewards innings and strikeouts while taking points away for hits, runs, home runs and walks, he recorded a career-best mark of 98, which is the fourth highest in Mets history.

The team’s third-best game rating went to Cone, who received a 99 for a three-hit shutout of the Philadelphia Phillies on Oct. 6, 1991, by which he struck out 19 batters.

Second-best went to Seaver, who had a 106 against the Los Angeles Dodgers on May 1, 1974, for a performance by which he allowed one run, three hits and two walks in 12 innings but received a no-decision when the Mets lost in 14 innings.

The highest mark, shockingly, belongs to Rob Gardner, a somewhat forgettable left-hander who was making the fifth appearance of his profession on Oct. 2, 1965, when he threw 15 shutout innings against the Phillies. Within the wild performance, Gardner allowed five hits and two walks while striking out seven. Thanks largely to the high variety of innings, Gardner got a game rating of 112 — tied for the fifth-best mark of the integrated era — nevertheless it wasn’t enough to get a win: The sport, by which Philadelphia’s Chris Short also threw 15 scoreless innings, was called a 0-0 tie after 18 innings due to a Saturday night curfew within the second game of a doubleheader.

When Gardner was interviewed concerning the game by Hannah Keyser for Yahoo in 2020, he was notably humble.

“I actually have to point this out, the guy that pitched against me pitched equally if not higher than I did,” Gardner said. “He just didn’t live long enough to be interviewed about it.”

(Johan Santana threw the franchise’s only solo no-hitter on June 1, 2012, but with eight strikeouts and five walks, he had a game rating of 90, which is tied for the forty ninth best start in franchise history.)

Seaver, to nobody’s surprise, has essentially the most WAR in franchise history with 76. He also leads the team in wins, innings, strikeouts, shutouts and diverse other categories. Only three other pitchers got even half as many WAR for the Mets as Seaver.

In fourth place on the team’s profession list is Koosman, who had 39.4 WAR over 12 seasons, going 140-137 with a 3.09 E.R.A. and 1,799 strikeouts. He was a key member of the 1969 title team and his No. 36 jersey was retired by the Mets in 2021.

In third place is deGrom, who had 41.1 over nine seasons. An absence of run support gave him a record of 82-57, but his 2.52 E.R.A. is the third best profession mark of the expansion era. He began one game for the team within the World Series, in his second season, and never got a likelihood to make up for a mediocre outing in a Game 2 loss to the Kansas City Royals.

In second place, narrowly holding off a challenge from deGrom, is Gooden. A primary-round pick by the team in 1982, he pitched 11 seasons for the Mets, going 157-85 with a 3.10 E.R.A. and 1,875 strikeouts. He never quite lived as much as the promise of his first three seasons, but he won a World Series, a Rookie of the Yr Award and a Cy Young Award, and his 41.6 WAR will proceed to trail only Seaver now that deGrom has left the team.

Gooden ought to be secure in that spot for some time. The franchise’s WAR leader amongst pitchers currently under contract is Max Scherzer, who had 5.2 in his first 12 months with the team.

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