deGrom, 25, grew up in DeLeon Springs, Florida, and attended Stetson University– also located in Florida. Jacob was a shortstop exclusively in his freshman and sophomore seasons. In his junior season the big righty was slated to play shortstop once again, as well as close games on the mound. Later in his junior season he would be converted to a starting pitcher. He would compile a 4-5 record that season, pitching to a 4.48 ERA to go along with 56 strikeouts in 82.1 innings. Despite attending a small school and posting less-than dominating numbers, the Mets took a chance on his upside. Upon being drafted, deGrom told GoHatters.com:
“It’s a cool feeling. It is something I have been working towards my whole life. It is a dream for every kid who plays baseball to get a shot. Hopefully I can get to the big leagues one day.”
Jacob has a perfect pitcher’s frame, coming in a 6’4″, 185 pounds with plenty of athleticism. He uses his height as leverage to add solid sink to his 93-95 mph fastball. His best secondary offering is his slider, which scouts think can develop into a plus pitch due it’s tight spin. He also throws a changeup that is a developing pitch, but is believed to be solid enough to keep him a starter.
Baseball America, who ranked deGrom the Mets 11th best prospect prior to the season, had this to say:
Though he’s much less experienced than the typical 24-year old pitching prospect, deGrom’s feel for a sinker and slider make him a potential No. 3 or 4 starter.
It was great to see deGrom bounce back from Tommy John surgery and pitch very well in 2012. He’s picked that right up in 2013, and is forcing himself into the Mets future rotation plans. The most impressive thing about deGrom has been his control (2.8 BB/9 in 2013), despite limited pitching experience and being less than two years removed from surgery. Let’s hope the mild shoulder stiffness he experienced in his most recent start is very minor and he doesn’t miss precious time on the mound.
I think if he can develop his changeup and continue to build stamina he could be a solid back-end starter, maybe more.
(Photo Credit: Gordon Donovan)