We should clarify: not among the best, the absolute best.
Most observers, media personalities, and fans have deGrom as the greatest hurler in baseball at the moment.
There is already chatter about the possibility of deGrom being elected to the Hall of Fame in the first year of eligibility.
If he retired today, would deGrom be an automatic Hall of Famer?
That is a tough question to answer because the criteria varies from person to person.
Let’s go to the numbers.
DeGrom, who has spent his whole career so far with the New York Mets, is currently 32 years old, so in theory, he shouldn’t have too many seasons left at his current level.
Yet, deGrom is an atypical 32-year-old, since he was a shortstop for a large portion of his early days and only has a little over six years of MLB service time as a starter.
The mileage on his right arm isn’t the same as other 32-year-olds.
Right now, deGrom has a career 2.54 ERA in 1,209.2 innings, striking out 1,424 batters so far.
DeGrom’s Fielding Independent Pitching, or FIP, is also extraordinary, at 2.70.
He has an argument as the best pitcher in MLB since 2018: that season, he finished with a 1.98 ERA in 217 innings, and since that year, he never had an ERA over 2.50.
Here are three reasons why deGrom is a Hall of Famer.
3. He Has The Peak Performance
For a baseball player to be considered as a Hall of Famer, he should have three things: sustained success, an outstanding peak, and hardware.
Long story short, deGrom fulfills two of the most important standards of Hall of Fame eligibility: an outstanding peak and awards.
In 2018, deGrom had 9.9 Wins Above Replacement, or WAR, according to Baseball Reference.
A year before, he checked in at 4.2, which is still good, and in 2019, he had 8.0, also phenomenal.
The 2020 and 2021 don’t give us a lot of data, but after the year, we will have a better idea of whether deGrom is still on his peak or not.
Based on the early returns of the 2021 season, he clearly is: he has a 0.68 ERA (!) in 40 frames, and after a minor scare with some soreness on his right side, he will return to the Mets’ rotation next week.
2. He Has The Hardware
DeGrom also checks the second item in the list: hardware.
Through six major league seasons, Jacob deGrom has won Rookie of the Year, made three All-Star teams and now, is the 11th pitcher in major league history to win back-to-back Cy Young Awards.
He needs to keep going, but the trajectory has now become Hall of Fame.
— Steve Gelbs (@SteveGelbs) November 13, 2019
The dominant righty has a Rookie of the Year award (2014), two Cy Young Awards (2018 and 2019), three All-Star games, and a couple of top-10 MVP finishes.
To this day, in 2021, more and more people are opening their eyes and realizing that deGrom deserved to win the MVP award in 2018.
1. He Doesn’t Have A Long Career, But He Is Getting There
As of now, deGrom isn’t a Hall of Famer because of longevity.
His pitching career is so short, and his 40.8 WAR would rank him low, near the bottom of the current pool of Hall of Fame starting pitchers.
In five years from now, perhaps deGrom has pitched well and long enough to increase his totals and lure some of the old-school voters.
In fact, he has avoided major injuries in recent seasons, and that’s an excellent thing.
Make no mistake: if he keeps pitching at even 70 or 80 percent of the level he is currently showing for at least five or six more season, he will be surefire Hall of Famer.
All of those names had at least 250 starts, and deGrom has 189.
He will eventually get in.
Jacob deGrom has won his 2nd straight NL Cy Young Award.
He's one of 6 players ever to post consecutive seasons with at least 250 strikeouts and an ERA below 2.50.
The other 5 pitchers are all in the Hall of Fame, and 4 of the 6 won consecutive Cy Youngs during their span. pic.twitter.com/qxa7x2vtVP
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 13, 2019