We’ve known for decades that pitching wins are a terrible way of assessing a pitcher’s value. Jacob deGrom and the Mets’ batters have our gratitude for spending the last two seasons erasing all doubt.
New York Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom is coming off a two-year run for the ages. However, the Mets’ bats usually take a nap during his outings — and because of that, he’s posted an underwhelming win/loss record, going 10-9 in 2018 and 11-8 in 2019.
Fortunately, that didn’t hurt his cause when it came to voting for the Cy Young Award, and he was able to bring it home both years, underscoring the record’s lack of importance when assessing a pitcher’s performance.
After all, a pitcher could toss a complete game, give up nothing but a lone unearned run, and get a loss; just like it’s possible to give up 10 earned runs and get a win. And in the context of every starting pitcher that’s had a Cy Young-winning season, deGrom’s lack of help was alarming. We’ll get to that in a sec, but first let’s briefly review how brilliantly he pitched across 2018-19.
A quality start is defined as pitching at least six innings while allowing no more than three earned runs. But here in Dorktown, we’re gonna apply stricter guidelines, tacking on one more inning while requiring one fewer earned run. In other words, 7+ innings, no more than two ER. In 2018, deGrom did so in 18 of his 32 games, comfortably leading his NL brethren:
That led to this production throughout the course of the season:
In 2019, it was more of the same:
Needless to say, those qualifications justified those two trophies. And ordinarily that kind of Cy Young-winning production happens to be at least adequately reflected in wins and losses. Or maybe even a bit more than ordinarily:
Those two blue bars up top represent deGrom’s 2018 & 2019 seasons. As you can see, up thru 2017, there’d only been one instance of a starting pitcher losing over 40% of his decisions while still winning the award. Then deGrom did so in back-to-back seasons. Or in other words:
The 108 other starting pitcher-seasons to result in a Cy Young Award featured a combined 2,278 wins against just 799 losses, meaning Ls constituted 25.97% of their decisions. The two deGrom Cy seasons featured a combined 21 wins against 17 losses, 44.74%.
Good work, Mets bats.
Read more at SB Nation.