While the Mets' focus down the September stretch of the 2019 regular season remains on the final push for the postseason, two key catalysts for the team's contention since April are on a potential path to history.
Before New York starts the second half of its six-game road trip with the weekend's three-game series Friday at 7:10 p.m. against the Reds from Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, 1B Pete Alonso and RHP Jacob deGrom have made strong cases for two of the NL's top awards.
DeGrom (9-8, 2.61 ERA), who takes the mound Friday for the Mets against the Reds and RHP Luis Castillo (15-6, 3.22 ERA), and Alonso are respectively in consideration for the NL CY Young and Rookie of the Year.
Should the duo take both awards at the end of the year, the individual feats would join only one other combination of players on the same NL team to do so since 1967 -- the first year the Cy Young was awarded in both leagues.
The first and last pair of players in the NL to capture the two awards came rather recent: RHP Jake Arrieta and 3B Kris Bryant swept the honors at the end of the 2015 season, before the Chicago Cubs suffered an NLCS sweep against the Mets. (In 1981, the same player won both awards: Fernando Valenzuela).
As a third-year member of the Cubs at age 29, Arrietta -- who later landed in the NL East when he cashed out and signed his three-year, $75 million contract with the Philadelphia Phillies -- won the Cy Young after going 22-6 and sporting a 1.77 ERA. In 229.0 innings, he recorded 236 strikeouts to 48 walks, growing into Chicago's ace while starting 33 games -- including four complete games and three shutouts.
Bryant broke out with the Cubs during his first year, slashing .275/.369/.488 in 151 games. Then a 23-year-old, Bryant hit 26 home runs, 31 doubles and 99 RBI, totaling 154 hits and 87 runs and ultimately producing from the middle of the lineup despite 199 strikeouts.
By the numbers, how do deGrom and Alonso stack up?
Throughout the season, the 31-year-old deGrom has lived up to his five-year, $137.5 million extension from March, as he has constantly delivered for the Mets despite inconsistent run support. In 30 starts, deGrom has logged 190.0 innings, striking out 239 while walking 43. The numbers are not far off from his 2018 Cy Young campaign when he went 10-9 with a 1.70 ERA and 269 strikeouts to 46 walks in 217.0 innings over 32 starts.
Alonso, meanwhile, has statistically blown Bryant's 2015 season out of the water. As the MLB's leader in home runs with 49 over Reds 3B Eugenio Suarez, the 24-year-old Alonso is still on track to potentially dethrone the single-season record set by New York Yankees RF Aaron Judge (52, 2017). Aside from his recent 0-for-21 drought, which he snapped during Monday's 9-4 loss to the Colorado Rockies, Alonso has consistently driven the lineup, slashing .266/.366/.590 while adding 29 doubles on 148 hits with 95 runs and 113 RBI.
Ten games remain, giving deGrom at least two more starts as he makes his case for another Cy Young. Alonso, meanwhile, likely has Rookie of the Year locked up.