What everyone knew would happen once Jacob deGrom put a bow on his incredible season on Sept. 26 has become official: The Mets ace has won the 2018 National League Cy Young award.
DeGrom, whose 1.70 ERA was the best in baseball and the fifth-lowest by any pitcher since 1996, finished with 29 of the 30 first-place votes. Max Scherzer was the pitcher that received the lone first-place vote, while Aaron Nola came in third.
"I want to thank the Baseball Writers for this honor," deGrom said in an official press release from the Mets. "I'm extremely humbled to win this award along with some other great former Mets such as Tom Seaver, Dwight Gooden and R.A. Dickey. I'd especially like to thank my teammates, coaching staff and my family."
Aside from his league-leading ERA, deGrom allowed three runs or fewer in an MLB-record 29 consecutive starts, was tied for the best WHIP in the NL (0.91), had a career-high 269 strikeouts, had a 0.69 WHIP with runners in scoring position, led the NL with a 1.99 FIP, and had a 216 ERA+ -- the fifth-best since the turn of the century.
"Jacob had one of the most remarkable seasons in baseball history," Mets COO Jeff Wilpon said. "The entire Mets organization is proud of his accomplishment and this is a moment all Mets fans can celebrate."
DeGrom was also the only pitcher in MLB history to have an ERA under 2.00 while striking out at least 260 batters, issuing fewer than 50 walks, and allowing 10 homers or fewer. For a home run comparison, Scherzer allowed 23.
One more ridiculous deGrom stat: He held cleanup hitters to a .178/.221/.256 batting line.
The 30-year-old deGrom is the fourth Met to win the award, joining Tom Seaver (1969, 1973, 1975), Dwight Gooden (1985), and RA Dickey (2012).
"Jacob clearly established himself as the best pitcher in baseball for 2018," Mets General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen said. "His consistency and competitiveness were unmatched. I've always been impressed with his professional and dedicated approach on and off the field in addition to being a tremendous teammate."
The early debate around deGrom and the Cy Young was about whether his win total (he wound up with 10) would cost him the award. But that debate quickly died. The win/loss stat for pitchers is one that is almost completely team-dependent. And with many voters (all BBWAA members) understanding the importance of advanced stats and the non-importance of wins, deGrom was the clear choice.
Winning the award is the culmination for deGrom, who said in Spring Training that his goal was to earn the hardware. It will go right next to the Rookie of the Year award he won in 2014 -- when he wound up in the Mets' starting rotation after initially being ticketed for the bullpen.
Listening to some people (Harold Reynolds included) twist themselves into a pretzel trying to come up with reasons why deGrom shouldn't win the award was amusing. Among those reasons was the laughable claim that deGrom didn't have any pressure on him because the Mets weren't contenders.
Well, here's what he did in 2018 against playoff teams (the Braves, Cubs, Rockies, Yankees, Dodgers, and Red Sox): 1.66 ERA in 97.2 IP over 14 starts, striking out 124.
It can be argued that deGrom -- whose job, like every other pitcher, is to prevent runs from scoring -- had the most pressure on him to do just that due to the comical lack of run support the Mets gave him.
Now that deGrom has his hardware, the focus can shift to a potential long-term extension with the Mets -- with SNY's Andy Martino predicting the two sides will begin talking about one next month.
Rays LHP Blake Snell joins deGrom as the 2018 American League Cy Young Award winner.