Mets right-hander Jacob deGrom was announced as the winner of the 2014 National League Rookie of the Year Award by the BBWAA (Baseball Writers Association of America) on Monday, beating out Reds outfielder Billy Hamilton and Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong. It wasn’t unanimous like Jose Abreu in the American League, but DeGrom still received 26 out of the 30 first-place votes. Hamilton got the other four first-place votes.
A late-bloomer, deGrom wasn’t on the radar in most prospect circles coming into the season and was even an afterthought among Mets fans with Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero presumed to be close to the majors. However, he turned out to be the biggest bright spot in the Mets’ season. Called up in mid-May after an injury to Dillon Gee, the shaggy-haired 26-year-old posted a 2.69 ERA with a 144/43 K/BB ratio in 140 1/3 innings across 22 starts.
Hamilton faded during the second half, but deGrom got better as the season moved along. He had a 1.99 ERA over his final 15 starts and allowed more than three runs just once in that time. DeGrom had a minor scare with his right shoulder in early August, but he rejoined the Mets’ rotation a few weeks later and finished September strong with a 1.67 ERA over four starts. The final push put made him the heavy favorite to walk away with Rookie of the Year honors.
While deGrom didn’t pitch the full season in the majors, he was right there among the game’s best when he was on the mound. Among pitchers with at least 140 innings pitched, he ranked 10th in the majors in strikeout percentage (25.5 percent), 11th in batting average against (.225), and 10th in OPS against (.613). His 130 ERA+ checked in at 19th. The Mets already had an impressive young nucleus of pitchers coming into this season, but deGrom’s unexpected emergence gives them another front-of-the-rotation stud.
DeGrom is the fifth National League Rookie of the Year winner in Mets history and the first in 30 years. Tom Seaver (1967), Jon Matlack (1972), Darryl Strawberry (1983), and Dwight Gooden (1984) are the others.
Complete voting results for the 2014 National League Rookie of the Year Award can be found at BBWAA.com.