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Friday, May 12, 2017

2017 FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: JACOB DeGROM SP NEW YORK METS

Holy strikeouts.  This would be the reaction to anyone who owns or who had gazed upon the outings of New York Mets ace Jacob DeGrom this season, with the righty leading the majors in strikeouts as of this writing in what is shaping up as a dominant comeback from 2016 elbow surgery.  By now the story has been told enough time here to know that DeGrom was a former shortstop who converted to pitcher and who was far from anyone's top prospect radar coming up the Mets system.  Toss in a Tommy John surgery and DeGrom was an afterthought when he made his 2014 debut.  A tremendous first start against the New York Yankees led to a 2.69 ERA debut and set the stage for a monster breakout in 2015 when DeGrom registered an even better 2.54 ERA and collected 205 strikeouts to stamp himself a new fantasy baseball ace.  Like almost the entire rest of the Mets rotation however, DeGrom came back to earth in an injury-marred 2016 that saw his velocity plummet (likely a result of pitching into the World Series the year prior) and then resulted in summer elbow surgery that clouded his future.

Fast forward to present day and DeGrom has been one of the biggest pitching stories of the year as he currently sports the following numbers:

3.80 ERA
1.34 WHIP
60 K in 42.2 innings for a crazy 12.66 K/9 rate.

Looking at those numbers, the strikeouts jump off the map and the ERA is swell as well.  What has happened here is that DeGrom's velocity has shot up so far this season to the upper-90's and that more than anything has the K's flowing again.  In addition, DeGrom is getting wicked movement on his stuff which has allowed him to lead MLB by a mile in swinging K percentage.  Now the 1.34 WHIP is high and that leads us to the only negative which is DeGrom's lack of control.  His 4.01 BB/9 is insanely high but is in clear outlier territory given the fact he has put up numbers of 2.76, 1.79, and 2.19 there from 2014-16.  Clearly the movement on DeGrom's stuff has led to some more walks but count on him polishing that over as we go along.  Finally, DeGrom's ERA should even be better as his .337 BABIP is in the unlucky range and when adjusted, his FIP (3.38) and XFIP (2.92) ERA's are improved from his actual 3.80 mark.

All in all, Jacob DeGrom has been worth every penny you paid for at the draft table and his has reaffirmed his status as a fantasy baseball ace starter.  The power stuff is fully back and the only fear we have is fatigue settling in during the late summer given the shortened 2016 campaign.


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