Jacob deGrom
(John Bazemore/Associated Press)

Jacob deGrom Should Be the Next Pitcher to Win MVP

New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom is a different animal. He’s far and away the best pitcher on the planet and shows no signs of slowing down. deGrom’s dominance has been historic, and he deserves to be the next pitcher to win an MVP Award.

Context for deGrom’s Dominance

To understand how good Jacob deGrom is, one only needs to look at the career leaderboards for Earned Run Average (ERA) and Walks/Hits per Inning Pitched (WHIP). These stats measure a pitcher’s ability to prevent runs from scoring and limit baserunners. With a career 2.54 ERA, deGrom ranks in the top 50 all-time. For a category that is dominated by old-time baseball players, that’s actually extremely impressive. Only a handful of the top 50 in ERA played after 1940.

In WHIP, deGrom really separates himself. His 1.03 mark ranks fifth all-time. If we limit the list to the post-1920 Live Ball Era, deGrom is third all-time in WHIP, only behind Mariano Rivera and Clayton Kershaw. That’s just absurd. Over his career, Jacob deGrom has allowed baserunners at a lower rate than almost any pitcher to take the mound.

He gets a lot of the outs himself, too. deGrom’s 10.6 Strikeouts per 9 Innings ranks fourth all-time. There’s a reason he has two NL Cy Young Awards in the last three seasons. Since 2018, deGrom has really separated himself as the best pitcher in the world.

Hopefully you now have an understanding for just how good Jacob deGrom is. He’s the type of pitcher who should win an MVP Award.

The Next Pitcher to Win MVP

Since 1990, only three pitchers have won an MVP Award. In 1992, Dennis Eckersley took home the trophy after a season where he posted 51 saves and a 1.91 ERA. While these numbers might not jump off the page to us today, Eckersley pioneered the role of the closer and was the most dominant relief pitcher in the game for a number of years. His MVP was a Lifetime Achievement Award of sorts.

The next pitcher to win MVP didn’t come along until 2011 when Justin Verlander posted one of the best campaigns in modern history. Verlander led all of MLB in wins, ERA, and strikeouts to capture the pitching Triple Crown. He led the league in WAR with 8.6 Wins Above Replacement. That 2011 season also saw Verlander throw a no-hitter and post a .920 WHIP over 251 innings pitched.

Clayton Kershaw was the last pitcher to win MVP, doing so in 2014. This was Kershaw’s third Cy Young season and one in which he established himself as perhaps the best pitcher of his generation. He finished with a 21-3 record, 1.77 ERA, and 0.857 WHIP in a season where he missed time due to a back injury. Kershaw added a 7.7 WAR and a no-hitter that ranks in the top five most dominant pitching performances ever.

When there’s an honor like the Cy Young Award that already rewards the best pitchers in the game, it takes a special type of pitcher to win the MVP Award on top of that. Only three have done it since 1990, but Jacob deGrom has cemented himself as an all-time great that is deserving of this distinction.

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