Why Jacob DeGrom Has a Realistic Shot at 2014 NL Rookie of the Year
As the 2014 season reaches the end of July, it's a good time to really start speculating who some of the award winners at the end of the season could be.
One award that Mets fans could look forward to is NL Rookie of the Year. The Mets have a rookie pitcher in Jacob deGrom who has been having a great start to what will hopefully be a long career.
Through 14 starts, deGrom is 5-5 with a 2.79 ERA, 31 walks and 83 strikeouts in 87.0 innings pitched. What makes deGrom's success even more impressive is that he was certainly not the Mets' most hyped pitching prospect in comparison to others like Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero.
Hopefully, deGrom will be able to keep up with the success he has had. But for now, let's see where deGrom ranks among other NL rookies this season.
How DeGrom Compares to Other NL Rookie Pitchers
DeGrom currently has the second-most wins and best ERA among all NL rookie pitchers. The only rookie with more wins is the Diamondbacks' Chase Anderson (6-4 with a 3.34 ERA). The only other NL rookie pitchers who have made the majority of their appearances as starters are the Phillies' David Buchanan (5-5, 4.40 ERA) and the Rockies' Tyler Matzek (2-5, 4.39 ERA).
On the relief end, deGrom's teammate Jeurys Familia has put together a great season of his own for the Mets with a 1.83 ERA in 51 appearances. The Braves' David Hale (2.66 ERA) and Rockies' Tommy Kahnle (2.62 ERA) have had nice rookie relief seasons as well.
deGrom's numbers look very favorable among rookie starters and none of the rookie relievers are closers, which means they will probably not draw as much voter attention. With that said, deGrom looks to be the NL Rookie of the Year favorite among pitchers.
But are there any hitters who could give deGrom some competition? Let's see.
A Look at the 2014 NL Rookie Hitters
The current class of NL rookie hitters has not been particularly strong thus far.
Cubs third baseman Mike Olt leads NL rookies in home runs with 12, yet is only batting .139 for the season. Recent Padres acquisition Yangervis Solarte leads NL rookies in RBI with 39, but his .267 average and eight home runs are not particularly impressive, generally speaking.
Mets catcher Travis d'Arnaud is hitting just .228 with seven home runs and 26 RBI. D-backs shortstop Chris Owings has a .277 average but just six home runs and 21 RBI. He leads NL rookies with a .771 OPS, which shows what kind of rookie class of hitters this really is.
The only NL rookie hitter who could really have a say in the Rookie of the Year vote would be Reds outfielder Billy Hamilton. Hamilton is currently hitting .272 with six home runs and 40 RBI and leads all rookie hitters in hits (103), runs scored (52), doubles (21), triples (6) and stolen bases (41). The 41 stolen bases are very impressive for a rookie in any season, but the fact that Hamilton's OBP is just .303 does not help his cause.
Again, some of Hamilton's numbers could give him some votes, but right now he will have trouble matching up to deGrom once the votes start to come in.
Assuming deGrom keeps pitching well and his competition (mainly Chase Anderson and Billy Hamilton) do not have exceptional second halves of their seasons, deGrom should be able to gain more than enough votes to earn the 2014 NL Rookie of the Year honor.
DeGrom has not been the most hyped-up rookie this season, but when all is said and done, the numbers are there and that's what the voters will likely pay the most attention to.
If deGrom is fortunate enough to win the award, he would become the fifth player in Mets history to do so, following Tom Seaver (1967), Jon Matlack (1972), Darryl Strawberry (1983) and Dwight Gooden (1984).
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