If Jacob deGrom continues at his current pace, he’ll put together one of the greatest pitching seasons in MLB history. In fact, the New York Mets ace has been so good that sportsbooks now rate him as the favorite to win the NL MVP award.
Only 25 pitchers have ever won a Most Valuable Player award, including 11 in the National League.
Historic dominance rivals Gibson’s 1968 season
The last to do so was Clayton Kershaw, who earned the NL MVP in 2014. Voters have traditionally favored giving the award to everyday players, with pitchers usually winning MVP when one puts in an overwhelmingly dominant year, or if no batter stands out from the pack.
Through the first two months of the season, deGrom has compiled numbers that are off the charts historically. He has pitched to a 0.56 ERA with 103 strikeouts over 64 innings, earning a 6-2 record for a Mets team that doesn’t score many runs. That makes his earned run average exactly half of that of Bob Gibson’s 1.12 mark in 1968, the modern record for starting pitchers.
Gibson pitched 304.2 innings that year, a mark deGrom won’t approach – both due to missing starts due to injury, and to the fact that starters don’t throw as much in the modern game. But that doesn’t take any luster off of the accomplishments of the Mets ace.
|NL MVP Odds (via FanDuel Sportsbook)|
|Jacob deGrom: +200|
|Fernando Tatis Jr.: +250|
|Ronald Acuna Jr.: +400|
|Bryce Harper: +2500|
|Jesse Winker: +2500|
|Juan Soto: +2500|
|Kris Bryant: +2500|
|Nick Castellanos: +2500|
deGrom is now the overwhelming favorite to win the NL Cy Young Award. FanDuel Sportsbook lists him as a -230 pick, well ahead of his closest competitors, Brandon Woodruff (+850) and Corbin Burnes (+850). He’s now also the favorite to accomplish a rare double, standing as the favorite in a three-way race for the National League MVP. FanDuel lists deGrom at +200, just ahead of Fernando Tatis Jr. (+250) and Ronald Acuna Jr. (+400).
deGrom won’t miss start after soreness
deGrom has also taken over as the favorite at BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill, and other bookmakers.
“He goes out every game and just shuts the other team down,” Adam Pullen, second director of trading for William Hill US, told ESPN. “It’s hard for people to get past that he’s not an everyday player, but he’s just so dominant. For a pitcher to win the MVP, you have to have dominant stats, and his stats are beyond amazing.”
The one thing that could slow down deGrom is injury. He threw six shutout innings on Friday against the San Diego Padres, but then took himself out of the game after experiencing some soreness. The Mets diagnosed him with right flexor tendinitis, but expect him to pitch again on Wednesday against the Chicago Cubs.
“Still day-to-day approach, but as of now, he’s given the thumbs-up and he’s done everything he needs to be ready,” Mets manager Luis Rojas told reporters on Tuesday.
There’s one other aspect that could help deGrom get over the top in the MVP race: his batting. The pitcher is 10-for-25 on the year, good for a .400 batting average. He’s driven in five runs on the year – more than the four earned runs he has allowed.
That doesn’t make deGrom a Shohei Ohtani-style two-way star, but it could accentuate his value in the minds of voters at the end of the year. Speaking of Ohtani, he rates as the +165 second choice to win the AL MVP at FanDuel, behind only Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (+115).