Could Marcus Stroman actually be the one to stop Jacob deGrom from three-peating with the Cy Young Award?
That's what Mets new pitching coach Jeremy Hefner told the Baseball Night in New York: Living Room Edition crew during Wednesday's episode. While saying the "sky's the limit" for Stroman, he believes he has the stuff to be crowned the best pitcher in the National League.
"He could easily push Jake in the Cy Young Award race," Hefner said of Stroman. "His ability to control his body -- he throws a million different pitches in a million different locations and can really do some funky things from a timing standpoint to mess up the hitter. For me taking this job, I was really, really excited to get to work with him. It's someone I've admired from a distance for awhile."
The highest Stroman ever finished in Cy Young voting was eighth in 2017 after posting a 3.09 ERA in 33 starts with the Blue Jays. But Hefner has seen what he is working with on the mound, and believes that he has the tools necessary to be among the elite.
He also earned his first All-Star nod last season after having a 2.96 ERA with the Blue Jays. When he was traded to the Mets, it took him a little while to get acclimated but he finished very strong with a 3.77 ERA total in 11 starts.
But that could still be a very tough hill for Stroman to climb considering deGrom's past two seasons. Coming off back-to-back Cy Young awards, deGrom had a "down year" in 2019 compared to his 2018 that saw a 1.70 ERA in 32 starts. He still posted a 2.43 ERA and 2.67 FIP with 255 strikeouts (led the league) over 204 innings.
Hefner admitted there isn't much that he can tell deGrom to fix at this point, but that doesn't mean he can't provide motivation.
"Jacob's great. The adjectives don't come easy. He's one of the best of our generation, one of the best in our game right now," Hefner said. "What he does from a mental standpoint and what he's able to do, his focus on his game and how in tune he is with his body, there's not much that any pitching coach can say to him.
"He doesn't have a World Series and neither do I. We have that in common and so that's a goal of ours to win a World Series. keeping that at the forefront of our mind and letting all the personal achievements come as they may. I think that's kinda the route we're going."
Check out the full interview with Hefner on BNNY: Living Room Edition at 7 p.m. on SNY.