There has been an ongoing debate about who the best pitcher in baseball is. Is it the red-hot Gerrit Cole, or the back-to-back Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom?
Cole debuted in 2013 for the Pittsburgh Pirates and saw some success in their pitch to contact era. Then in 2017, he had a rough season where he let his tempers flare and was rattled a lot and pitched to a 4.26 era.
Then in the trade to the Houston Astros he took off.
The stuff was always there, but Houston is great at pitching development. In 412.2 innings, he pitched to a 2.68 ERA and regained his dominance. He has recently signed the richest contract in baseball history for a pitcher with the New York Yankees.
deGrom, on the other hand, carved out a spot in the rotation with the New York Mets in 2014. He immediately stepped in and won the NL Rookie of the Year award as a pitcher with a 2.69 ERA. He has since pitched to dominance and Cy Young awards. Let’s take a dive into stats.
I will look at the 2 most recent years because that is when Cole moved to Houston. Cole had the aforementioned 2.68 era, 164 ERA+ 2.67 fip, and 13.1 strikeouts per 9. Great stuff right?
Well, deGrom tops it. In those same 2 years, he posted an otherworldly 2.05 ERA, 189 ERA+ which is park and league adjusted, 2.32 FIP, and 11.9 strikeouts per 9. Using those stats alone deGrom is superior, and it’s not particularly close.
The only knock on deGrom is that he doesn’t get run support for win totals, let’s see his stats in some “box score” games.
2019 deGrom in no decisions had a 1.70 era, that matches his Cy Young season alone. He also pitched 85 innings in those games. 2019 Cole in the no-decisions pitched 49.2 innings and had an ERA of 2.90.
Amazing, but nowhere near the level of deGrom.
People like to make it seem like Cole was the best pitcher on the planet the second half of the season. He had a stellar 1.79 ERA. deGrom looks at that and scoffs, as he put up a 1.44 ERA.
While Gerrit Cole is still amazing, Jacob deGrom is clearly the best pitcher in baseball.
Photo Credit: CBS Sports