When he’s healthy enough to pitch, Jacob deGrom is without question the best pitcher on the planet. Unfortunately for the Mets, deGrom enters the 2022 season with a shoulder issue that will prevent him from throwing at all for a while, with the team officially describing that particular timeline as “up to four weeks.”
Once deGrom is cleared to begin throwing again, he will still feel like a question mark moving forward, at least in the short term. Last year, he dealt with a seemingly endless stream of minor injuries, which kept him off the field and ultimately brought his season to an end in early July.
Throughout that stretch of constant minor injuries, though, deGrom pitched as well as he—or just about anyone else—ever had. In 92.0 innings of work last year, he had a 1.08 ERA and 1.24 FIP, and if he had been healthy enough to throw anywhere near a full season’s starting pitcher workload, he would almost certainly have won his third Cy Young in the span of four years.
Among qualified starting pitchers, deGrom’s 1.94 ERA since the start of the 2018 season is the best in baseball—and the only ERA under two. Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Walker Buehler, and Gerrit Cole follow him on that particular board, with ERAs ranging from 2.56 to 2.85. All are excellent, but none are on deGrom’s level.
In his brief time at spring training this year, deGrom looked every bit his usualy dominant self. If and when he’s able to return to the field this year, there’s no reason to doubt that he will pitch very, very well when he takes the mound. Here’s hoping that happens sooner rather than later and that there are no setbacks or new injuries that arise once it does.