No starting pitcher in baseball has a lower ERA than the 1.68 of New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom, and the right-hander wants to parlay his impressive first half of the season into an All-Star Game start.
"I want to start the game," deGrom said, per Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News. "I want it."
Despite deGrom's desire to take the ball first at Nationals Park on Tuesday, Ackert noted Washington Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer is "likely to be tabbed by Dodgers skipper Dave Roberts" to begin the game in front of the home fans.
"I think that getting chosen to an All-Star Game is an honor," deGrom continued. "Getting chosen as the starting pitcher is a step above that, so it would be an honor to start it. I'd like that, but I guess, we'll have to see what happens."
While Scherzer's taking the hill makes sense in terms of pleasing the home fans in an exhibition game, it is hard to argue against deGrom as the starter. He has been brilliant with an 0.97 WHIP and 149 strikeouts in 123.1 innings to go with his sparkling ERA and has been one of the lone bright spots in an otherwise dismal season for the 39-55 Mets.
That he has a mere five wins is a testament to how poorly the Mets have played this season.
New York’s struggles and deGrom’s age (30 years old) mean there could even be a window to trade him in an effort to accelerate a rebuild that will have the team contending by the time the ace is out of his prime.
"You're not trading deGrom without [getting] one of baseball's top prospects. Who would I be willing to trade him for? A young player who has the ability to be a top-five prospect, like Gleyber Torres, Ronald Acuna Jr., Fernando Tatis Jr., Vladimir Guerrero Jr. For me, if you're not getting that … then it's not worth the exercise.
"That's kind of what the Mets are doing. They're saying, 'Look, if you're willing to offer us one of those guys, we'll think about it.'"
For now, deGrom's focus is on the Mets and starting in Tuesday’s All-Star Game. It remains to be seen whether he will finish the season wearing the orange and blue.