It is not uncommon at the All-Star break for sports columnists to hand out midseason awards for the MVP, Cy Young etc. So far the National League Rookie of the Year would have to be Billy Hamilton. But with his last two starts, Jacob deGrom has pushed his way into the conversation.
deGrom threw 14 innings over those starts, allowing one run with 19 strikeouts and two walks. He won both games to elevate his record to 3-5 and lower his ERA to 3.18.
You could make the argument that deGrom is the leading rookie NL pitcher. His 12 starts and 73.2 innings are more than any other rookie. His 72 strikeouts are tops, leading by a wide margin of 24 Ks. No starter has enough innings to qualify for the ERA crown, but his ERA is third lowest among rookies who are exclusively starters. The ones ahead of him have pitched only four and seven games, respectively.
There are a few rookie relievers who are making an impact (Vic Black and Jeurys Familia can be included in that category), but none has the eye-popping numbers a rookie would need.
As far as hitters, really only Hamilton right now has outstanding numbers (.285, 38 steals). Mike Olt leads rookies with 12 homers, but he is batting a miserable .144. Travis d’Arnaud is actually tied for second in homers with six. Super-prospect Gregory Polanco could always explode in the second half.
But so could Jacob deGrom. Barring any innings limits, deGrom should be in line for about another 13 starts, roughly the number he already has. If all goes well he could end up with a record of, let’s say, 12-6, an ERA of 3.00 and striking about around 150 batters in 150 innings. That could be good enough to win.
The last Met to win Rookie of the Year was Dwight Gooden back in 1984. With the Mets habit of bringing up players in mid-season (Jose Reyes, David Wright, Matt Harvey), it could never happen again. Jacob deGrom was brought up early enough, and he is performing well enough, for him to emerge as a serious competitor.