Jacob deGrom is off to a good start

Mets RHP prospect Jacob deGrom has allowed just one earned run, seven hits and three walks in 11 innings this season for Triple-A Las Vegas. He has struck out 11 of the 43 hitters he’s faced.

It has been reported that deGrom, 25, may be considered later in the season to help in the big-league bullpen.

He was added to the team’s 40-man roster last November.

DeGrom’s power two-seam sinker (92-96 mph) and good command will get him to the big leagues. He’s lean and long and the velocity comes relatively easily for him. He added a curveball to his repetoire in 2013 to complement his slider and changeup. If he can get two of those pitches to MLB average, he can be a starter. Otherwise, the Mets hope that they found themselves a nice, hard-throwing reliever in the 9th round of the 2010 draft.[/sny-editorial]

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The Mets added deGrom to the 40-man roster in November, 2013 which makes promoting him to the big leagues that much easier.

It’s early yet, but compare deGrom’s performance in a number of key categories in Triple-A in 2013 versus 2014.

DeGrom ripped through the system in 2013, moving from advanced Single-A to Double-A after just two starts in April. After four starts for Binghamton, the Mets moved him to Triple-A for a spot start on May 6. After a decent, but not dominant, six start run in Double-A from May 9-June 9 (4.79 ERA, 30/12 K/BB and an opponents’ batting line of .310/.364/.465 in 157 PA) the Mets moved deGrom up to Triple-A where he made 14 starts with a 4.52 ERA and a seven  percent walk rate against just a 17 percent strikeout  rate. In a world in which MLB starters strike out 20 percent of their opponents, deGrom’s 17 percent strikeout rate in 2013 in Triple-A was a red flag. Yes, some sinker ballers have had success with low strikeout rates, but deGrom’s groundball rate of 43.6 percent in Las Vegas was just a tick above the league average of 43 percent.

A former college shortstop at Stetson, who pitched relatively little, deGrom’s professional career got off to a slow start. He strained his UCL in 2010 when he was with Kingsport in the Appalachian League. Initially, he opted to attempt to rehab it, rather than go straight for Tommy John surgery. However, eventually, he went under the knife which cost him the entire 2011 season. While rehabbing in Port St. Lucie, he met one Johan Santana, who helped teach him the two-seam fastball. He unleased the two-seamer on professional hitters for the first time in the South Atlantic League in 2012, earning a mid-season promotion to the Florida State League.

My preseason #16 prospect, I don’t think the projection on deGrom has changed that dramatically, yet.

DeGrom and his power sinker could help the Mets bullpen in short order. However, if his secondary offerings take a step forward this year, the Mets might keep him stretched out in the minors to give him a better chance to start in the big leagues.

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