The best pitcher on the planet just keeps getting better.
Jacob deGrom continued his scorching start to 2021 with a shutout against the Washington Nationals on Friday, allowing only two hits with no walks while striking out a career-high 15 strikeouts. What's more, he added two hits and an RBI at the plate to increase his batting average on the season to .545.
DeGrom's stats for the season now stand at 50 strikeouts over 29 innings (15.52 K/9) in four starts and 0.31 ERA. Forget a third Cy Young Award, deGrom's playing well enough now to warrant MVP hype, and the Citi Field is well aware of that:
The wildest part of the night is that it could have been even better. DeGrom had plenty of strikeouts, but he had none in the final two innings of the game. Only four pitchers in the history of baseball — Max Scherzer, Kerry Wood, Randy Johnson, Roger Clemens — have struck out 20 batters in nine innings, and there was a point Friday in which deGrom looked like a possibility join them.
Somehow, even at the age of 32, deGrom has continued to improve despite previously hitting highs that won him back-to-back Cy Young Awards. That's evident nowhere more than in his fastball velocity. In the years since deGrom's debut, his radar gun readings have progressed from an average of 94.2 mph to 96.0 mph in 2018 to 98.9 this year entering Friday.
Add in a steadily decreasing walk rate and a changeup that has become one of the best in baseball ,and you have a monster.
Here's a few more stats, just for fun:
We're obviously still dealing with April stats — Corbin Burnes' numbers have been similarly eye-popping — but deGrom's body of work over the last few years provides plenty of reason to believe we may be in for a historic season from the Mets ace.
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