Jacob deGrom and the Hall of Fame

After a late start to his career, does the New York Mets Ace have enough to make it to Cooperstown

New York Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom won his second consecutive Cy Young award in 2019. He entered the 2020 MLB season as the front runner to win the award again. 

Winning the Cy Young award for a third straight year would put deGrom in elite company. So it’s natural that many Mets fans mention deGrom as a future Hall of Fame member.  

What are the chances Jacob deGrom makes the baseball Hall of Fame?

deGrom does have a few things working against him, when it comes to making it to Cooperstown. He did start his career relatively late, after college and having Tommy John surgery right after the Mets drafted him. He is now 32 years old. 

deGrom most likely is not going to rack up the stats needed to make the Hall of Fame over a long and storied career, like many other players have done. 

He also plays for the Mets, those Mets who refuse to score runs in deGrom’s starts, or even win those games when he pitches. 

The traditional markers of a Hall of Fame pitcher- like 300 wins or 3000 strike outs- just won’t work for deGrom. This is true even though he is the best pitcher in baseball right now. 

Luckily, the baseball Hall of Fame voters have gone to less traditional metrics over the last few years, to determine who truly deserves enshrinement into Cooperstown. 

One metric voters have used recently is career WAR numbers. Currently, there are 65 starting pitchers in the Hall of Fame. They have an average WAR of 73.3 for their careers. 

deGrom has a career WAR of just over 36. He’s not going hit that mark, either. 

Many Hall of Fame players have very good, and very long careers. They are great over a long period of times, and they accumulate the Hall of Fame stats over time. 

Other players are excellent over much shorter times. These players might not play long enough to accumulate numbers over a 20 year career, but if you look at their peak years, there are many, many standouts. 

One metric to look at is a player’s 7 year peak WAR. The 7 years in a row, where the player performed his best.

The average Hall of Fame starting pitcher has a 7 year peak War of 50, including many notable names for Mets fans.

7 year peak WAR:
Tom Seaver: 59.2 
Pedro Martinez: 58.2
Roy Halladay: 50.6
Justin Verlander: 50.0
Clayton Kershaw: 49.7
Max Scherzer: 48.0
Zach Grienke: 48.0
Sandy Koufax: 46.0

In 2018, deGrom had a WAR of 9.0. He followed that up with a 7.0 WAR season. This is, hopefully, the beginning of Jake’s 7 year peak. 

We did some quick and basic math. For starters, we were concerned this short 2020 MLB season would ruin deGrom’s Hall of Fame chances completely. 

We are very happy that’s not the case!

deGrom has averaged roughly .25 WAR per start, over the last 2 years. If he maintains that level of production in this short season, he should be able to add 2-3 WAR this year, onto his peak years total. 

What does this mean?

This all means that if Jacob deGrom averages a WAR of 7 from 2021 to 2024, he will easily hit the 7 year peak WAR of 50.

This alone should be enough to take deGrom to the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. This is also an achievable goal. deGrom has already put up back to back 7 WAR seasons.

Jacob could, of course, add to his resume between now and then, as well. Another Cy Young would cement his as the best pitcher in the game right now. Pitching well in the playoffs could also solidify deGrom’s changes. 

Using traditional measures and stats will not get Jacob deGrom into the Baseball Hall of Fame. But newer metrics are now available to evaluate the truly greats of the sport.

With that, we think Jacob deGrom will certainly be inducted into Cooperstown as a member of the New York Mets.