February 6, 2023

Jacob DeGrom

The Mets brought two-time Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom back into the rotation last week after an absence of more than a year, and on Sunday he returned to the mound at Citi Field. He hasn’t lost a step. It’s not even close.

In fact, deGrom has shown over five-plus innings that he still has the raw stuff to be the best pitcher on the planet. The basic, final box score line won’t do justice to what deGrom did in front of the Mets faithful on Sunday. The line itself was still pretty good.


deGrom essentially retired the first 17 batters he faced. Yes, he had a perfect game going 5 2/3 innings before issuing a walk and then giving up a two-run home run to Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson. Those last two strikes really killed off one of the dirtiest performances we’ve seen in 2022.

deGrom had everything working from the start. His quad fastball average was 99.1 mph and he topped 100 on more than a handful of pitches. His top speed read? A nice 101.6. Of his 33 sliders, 20 were induced swings and an impressive 18 were swing-and-misses. For those who don’t know, a 90 percent hit rate on any pitch at the major league level is unheard of. League leaders are generally close to 70 percent.

Here’s a good illustration of how deGrom made Braves players look most of the day:

If there was Any concern at all in this outing, it was deGrom who lasted just 76 pitches and the Braves got to him in the final eight or so. But let’s keep the proper perspective here, which is that deGrom missed over a year with elbow and shoulder injuries and is 34 years old.

That is, the Mets are handling deGrom with extreme caution right now, as they should. They entered Sunday with a 5 1/2-game lead, so all eyes are firmly on finishing the regular season and then preparing for a full-go deGrom for October. That said, the most important aspect of Sunday was to continue deGrom’s progress. He threw 59 pitches in his first outing, and this time he went into the mid-70s.

Simply: So far, so good with Jacob deGrom in his return from the injured list.

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