Fantasy Outlook: Jacob deGrom
2015 Season Recap
While Matt Harvey is generally viewed as the alpha-dog of the Mets’ prized rotation quintet and exudes the cachet that lends itself to the aura of the Big Apple, Jacob deGrom, or “The Hair” (depending on who you ask) may be the actual ace. In 2015, the right-hander built on an impressive inaugural campaign that saw the rather old rookie (26 years old) finally break through on the big league stage. After all, his minor league career started with just two years experience as a starting pitcher under his belt and also featured the following fear-inducing six syllables – Tommy John surgery.
Coming off a breakout 14-win, 2.54 ERA season that culminated in a thrilling trip to the Fall Classic, deGrom has firmly established his position among baseball’s elite. The Mets’ ace harnessed the highest velocity of his career throughout this past year, averaging a whopping 94.9 mph and routinely dialing up his heater to the 97-98 mph in high-intensity situations.
Throwing a career-high 216 innings, he unsurprisingly experienced a slight dip in velocity (still in the 93-95 range) late in the season only to rebound come playoff time en route to a radiant 2.88 ERA in four starts, including a dominating 20 whiffs in two NLDS starts.
2016 Projections and ECR
The All-Star slides in right behind Harvey in the No. 10 slot (among pitchers) according to FantasyPros Consensus Projections, which also see him approaching the 200-inning mark with nearly a strikeout per frame. Among all right-handers, “The Hair” fills the fifth slot. As for FantasyPros’ Expert Consensus Rankings, he was ranked 34th overall and ninth among all pitchers.
2016 Season Outlook
You wouldn’t be foolish to expect the polished, even-keeled 27-year-old to duplicate those gaudy numbers this season. His willingness to improve is displayed through his ability to constantly change speeds and keep hitters off balance. Opting not to rely solely on powerful stuff as he maneuvers through opposing lineups, opposing batters hit just .247 against him the third time through the order last season.
Changing eye levels through the somewhat antiquated pitching approach of “climbing the ladder” and increasingly incorporating his slider and curve into the equation, deGrom had the opposition hitting merely .162 against him when they were behind in the count. Averaging fewer than two walks per nine innings, the precocious and imposing Mets’ hurler brings much more than just velocity to the mound so expect another solid season going forward for the Mets’ ace.