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John Dewan's Stat of the Week

Jacob deGrom Deserves Better

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By MARK SIMON

Jacob deGrom is an awesome pitcher in every sense of the word. He throws four pitches at a high level of effectiveness and has the capability to dominate a game with an overpowering fastball.

From 2018 to 2020, deGrom had an MLB-best 2.10 ERA. He ranked in the top five in that time in strikeout rate, opponents’ batting average, and WHIP. Like no one elese, he repeatedly has done everything within his power to put his team in position to win.

Except his bullpen doesn’t always cooperate. Such was the case for the Mets in their 2021 season opener against the Phillies. DeGrom left after six innings with a 2-0 lead, but Trevor May and Aaron Loup combined to allow five runs in the eighth inning and the Mets lost, 5-3.

As was noted in multiple news sources (via the Elias Sports Bureau), this marked the 31st time that deGrom left a game with a chance to earn a win but got a no-decision or loss. That’s the most “my bullpen let me down” starts for any pitcher since deGrom’s first season, 2014.

DeGrom has failed to get a win 32% of the time in which he was in these circumstances for his career.

There are two other active pitchers who have a 30% or higher rate in that time (minimum 40 starts). Current Red Sox pitcher Martín Pérez’s team has failed to win 31% of the time (19-of-61 instances) when Pérez left with a chance to get a win. And current Rays starter Chris Archer’s team has failed to come through for him 30% of the time (21-of-70).

It’s amazing the difference that being on a team with effective relievers makes.

DeGrom’s 98 instances of leaving a start with a chance to win ranks eighth in that time. Here’s a look at how the seven pitchers in front of him have fared.

Most Starts with Chance To Win When Leaving Game
Since 2014

Pitcher Chance To Win Didn’t Get Win Pct
1. Zack Greinke 123 21 17%
2. Max Scherzer 111 17 15%
3. Jon Lester 106 18 17%
4. Gerrit Cole 105 17 16%
5. Justin Verlander 102 17 17%
6. Jake Arrieta 100 19 19%
7. Clayton Kershaw 100 14 14%
8. Jacob deGrom 98 31 32%

>> Chance to win = Left game with lead in 6th inning or later

DeGrom has said that his goal is to be a Hall-of-Fame pitcher. It will be important for future voters to remember that deGrom’s win-loss record (currently 70-51) is deceiving. He’s pitched at a Hall-of-Fame level the last few seasons even if his win total doesn’t reflect it.

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