Jacob deGrom is the most effective pitcher in baseball when wholesome. That’s indeniable at this level. For the reason that begin of 2018, deGrom has posted a 1.94 ERA, 205 ERA+, 12.0 Ok/9 fee, and 0.881 WHIP throughout 581 innings pitched. Nobody else even comes near these figures. The issue has been deGrom’s lack of ability to remain on the mound.
deGrom has suffered a number of accidents all through his profession. He underwent Tommy John surgical procedure in 2010 and had a separate surgical procedure in 2016 to restore nerve harm in his elbow. Whereas deGrom was in a position to put collectively full seasons in 2018 and 2019 — each years he gained the NL Cy Younger Award — he was solely in a position to pitch 92 innings in 2021 earlier than being shut down with an harm in his elbow. Yesterday, deGrom suffered a setback in his return to the mound. An MRI on deGrom’s arm confirmed that the Mets’ ace confirmed a stress response in his proper scapula that might maintain him sidelined for a month to begin 2022.
This harm simply provides to an already lengthy record of Mets’ pitchers working via accidents of their very own. Max Scherzer is presently listed as day-to-day and his standing for Opening Day is up within the air. Chris Bassitt was hit within the face by a line drive final season. Taijuan Walker has a fairly critical harm historical past in his personal proper, and everyone knows what Carlos Carrasco has needed to undergo getting back from most cancers.
The Mets’ 2021 marketing campaign was derailed by a collection of devastating accidents, and whereas deGrom’s harm in and of itself shouldn’t be sufficient to ship 2022 off the tracks, it’s the worst potential situation for a workforce that’s seeking to compete for a division title with reigning World Sequence champion Atlanta and the loaded Phillies.
The Mets’ offense looks good, but barring bounceback seasons from Francisco Lindor and Jeff McNeil, there isn’t anything that pops off the page. It’s hard to imagine an offense led by Pete Alonso and Eduardo Escobar can compete with Acuña, Albies, and Olson or Harper, Schwarber, and Castellanos. The Mets need their starting pitching to carry them and without deGrom for possibly the first two months of the season, there are too many question marks to have confidence in the Mets’ ability to succeed.
Throughout 2021, in games where Mets’ pitching allowed either four or five runs, the Mets went 12-25. Sure, five runs is above average, but it’s not a ton of runs to overcome, and yet the Mets just couldn’t compete. Sure, there are areas where the Mets have improved on offense. Escobar is a good addition and Mark Canha has always been a great power bat in the middle of Oakland’s lineup, but the team also lost Michael Conforto and Javy Báez. All in all, it doesn’t appear like this Mets team will be any better off than it was at the end of last season, and guess what? That team sputtered to finish the season, going 21-37 across August, September, and October.
Keep in mind too that Scherzer struggled to start 2021. Before being traded to the Dodgers, Scherzer had an ERA of 2.76, but a FIP of 3.6 (his highest since 2010), which is indicative of a pitcher who got very lucky during his time with the Nationals in 2021. A return to the East Coast could bring back that early 2021 Scherzer, who was good, but definitely not the ace we knew and loved throughout the late 2010’s. Obviously, that’s all speculation and assumption though.
Without deGrom, the Mets’ pitching staff is filled with too many question marks to seriously consider them competitors in the NL East. Even with a healthy Scherzer, Carrasco, and Walker, it’s not hard to argue that the Phillies (Wheeler, Nola, Suarez, Gibson) and Braves (Morton, Fried, Anderson, Ynoa) both have better starting staffs than New York. While I have no doubt that deGrom will come back as strong as ever, the type of injury he’s enduring (a stress reaction in the throwing elbow) has been seen before in pitchers like Brandon McCarthy and Michael Wacha. It was a nagging injury that consistently forced the pair to miss serious time throughout several seasons every time it popped back up. It may not affect performance, but it does affect availability, and honestly, the latter is more important for the Mets if they really want to compete. I wouldn’t be surprised if deGrom needs to take a second extended trip to the IL shortly after returning from his current injury due to a flare up. We’ve seen it happen too many times.