The starting rotation is going to be a key for the 2021 NY Mets. It’s still very in camp, but thus far this spring, the pitching has looked pretty strong.
Mets ace Jacob deGrom took the mound for the first time in Grapefruit League action on Saturday afternoon in the team’s 6-1 win over the Houston Astros at The Ballpark of Palm Beaches in West Palm Beach.
It may be early on in camp, but right away, the two-time National League Cy Young award winner looked to be in midseason form.
deGrom allowed just two baserunners on the afternoon, a Kyle Tucker walk in the first, and an Abraham Toro double in the second. He consistently sat around 99-100 MPH on his fastball and generated a ton of swing and misses, including three strikeouts over his two scoreless innings of work.
He was also helped out by some solid defense from newly acquired superstar shortstop Francisco Lindor, which deGrom called “nice” and “fun to watch.”
2021 NY Mets: New Backstop in New York
Postgame, deGrom credited much of his success on the afternoon to his fastball location. He told reporters, “It’s always for me, just working on the location of every pitch. In the first inning, I was sailing some fastballs high, then that last inning was just trying to see the glove and hit it.”
deGrom added that after the two-out double to Toro in the first, catcher James McCann came out for a quick visit, and that’s when they switched up his pitch mix. deGrom said, “He was like, ‘Hey, nobody is on time on the fastball.’ So we stuck with that and really worked on locating it.”
Despite having only worked together for about a month, deGrom said it’s been a smooth transition with McCann, and he seemed comfortable and confident throwing to his new backstop.
The righty will certainly benefit from having a more athletic and defensive-minded catcher behind the plate for the 2021 NY Mets. McCann has said numerous times in his handful of press conferences thus far as a Met that he takes pride in his defense.
What’s in Store for Degrom
During the 2020 pandemic shortened campaign, deGrom finished third in NL Cy Young voting behind Trevor Bauer and Yu Darvish but pitched to a 2.38 ERA and 0.95 WHIP over 12 starts. He also posted a 13.9 K/9 rate and 104 total strikeouts, which lead the National League.
deGrom will headline the 2021 NY Mets rotation again this season, receiving his third consecutive Opening Day nod, as announced by manager Luis Rojas on Saturday morning.
He will be followed by Carlos Carrasco, Marcus Stroman, Taijuan Walker, and either David Peterson, Joey Lucchesi, or Jordan Yamamoto. Noah Syndergaard also figures to join this group at some point during the season.
With the big additions and depth additions to this group, there’s no denying the 2021 NY Mets could absolutely have one of the top rotations in baseball.
After a busy and productive first offseason in the Steve Cohen era, deGrom told reporters he has enjoyed working with this group thus far and is really looking forward to the season.
“These guys have been fun to be around, I’m looking forward to playing the full 162 with them, and hopefully going and winning a World Series,” he said.
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