Two Guys Talking: Jake deGrom Looks Good — And It’s Not Just the Hair

degrom and goodwinMike:

We have now seen Jake deGrom pitch three times. Before we get to anything else about Jake, let me start with the obvious. I like his approach at the plate. Twice on Monday he swung at the first pitch and slammed a hard single. Jeff might have noticed that too.


Yeah, he takes his cuts. It’s not a big joke to him, the idea of coming to the plate. The Mets usp-mlb_-atlanta-braves-at-new-york-mets_001-e1398003375122have gotten a pass on the abject failure of the pitching staff to hit anything whatsoever, but I’m not impressed with it. For a team that wants to be prepared, and professional, I don’t buy into the idea that the ablity for a pitcher to hit is completely meaningless. I mean, Seaver took pride in it. Harvey takes pride in it. Until very recently, Mets pitchers only hit in the indoor cages. They didn’t take outdoor BP. That’s not preparation; that’s waving a white flag. They embarrassed themselves into finally beginning to take BP in the outdoor cages — that is, to try a little harder — because, you know, it might come up in a game sometime.


Now, three starts is not a lot to base an opinion on, but I have been impressed with deGrom on the mound too. His fastball has a little more hop than I expected, and his mound presence is excellent. On Monday things got off to a bad start and he never seemed rattled. In fact, all day Monday I felt deGrom didn’t have his best stuff, especially location. Yet, he was able to leave the game that day without giving up a run in 6 plus innings.


Can we talk about the hair?


It’s hard not to.


New York Mets Spring Training at their Minor League practice facility located within Tradition Field in FloridaI like the hair. I really do. It’s got a 70’s vibe. The kid has style, presence. He’s not some bland automaton. I’m joking, partly, but there is something of a “look at me” quality to it. Confidence, maybe. (I sound like an old scout, saying he has “the good face,” but, well, I guess I do.) Regarding the pitching itself, color me thrilled. I think he’s out-pitched Montero, whom I also like — but for the pen, at least for this year, unless a slot opens up. In terms of stuff, my eyes tell me that deGrom is for real.


So far he has slightly out-pitched Montero, but Rafael did look good in his last start. Right now, with Gee out, both are needed in the rotation. Hopefully Gee is back before too long and one of the two can shift to the bullpen. I have advocated Montero for that role since March. As we can see with Familia and Mejia, live arms beat has-beens out there. And bullpens are important, you just can’t win without a pen. Especially when your offense is below average.


Regardless, teams must have a good pen. By accident or design, Sandy has slowly built the pen mejia savefrom within. I’ve long advocated that approach, though clearly the Mets GM needed to supplement the pen during this transition with at least one more quality arm. Moving forward, the core group seems to be coming together. I’d love to see a talented, hard-throwing lefty in there.

Following up on Montero, he looked terrific against the Diamondbacks, and seemed to get swing-and-misses off more change-ups. You really need to see these guys over time, against different teams.


It’s realistic to expect some speed bumps in the road for Jake, maybe as soon as his start tomorrow. Becoming an effective major league pitcher is a process. In a season that has not had enough fun, watching deGrom as he heads down that road is something I’m looking forward to enjoying. Let’s hope it’s a fairly smooth journey.

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  1. IB says:

    Montero in the BP with Familia, Mejia, Black, Torres. Could this be the BP that turns this team into a winner? I’m scared to think about it.

    Off topic, and I apologise. Did you catch this D Wright quote? “Let’s put it this way,” he said. “If a little booing or some negativity completely throws you off of your game and you can’t concentrate — you can’t focus because you get booed here and there — then, you know, we got the wrong guys.”

    That’s how you answer the question. Thanks, David.

  2. Here’s another off-topic tidbit: A columnist recently offered up the statistical nugget from Elias that over the past four years, the Mets have had the second-highest percentage of 0-1 counts in baseball.

  3. Over at Mack’s Mets, our friend Reese asks the question, “Have the Nasty Boys Arrived in Queens?”

  4. Terry Being Terry: Last night, Chris Young singles and homers in his first two ABs. Then with the bases loaded and the pitcher struggling to throw strikes, Terry gives CY the green light on a 3-0 pitch, a meatball down the middle, which is popped up so short LF.

    You could already hear the rationale in your head, “Trying to get him going.”

    I wanted CY taking in that spot, personally, but, okay, maybe.

    So today, naturally, Chris Young sits while Bobby Abreu plays LF.

    He’s not a good manager, this guy.

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