Jacob deGrom is reviving memories of Tom Seaver

One of the best ways to judge a starter is by how many earned runs he gives up in his starts over his career.

Only one Mets pitcher has started more than 300 games in which he gave up three or fewer earned runs: Tom Seaver. In them, he had an amazingly low ERA of 1.68. The only current Met in the Top 10 is Jacob deGrom.

Mets with number of starts in which 3 or less earned runs were given up
The data source for this post is stathead.com.

In 245 of his starts, Tom Seaver gave up two or fewer earned runs. But he did not have the highest W-L% among the Top 7. Al Leiter won almost 90% of the games in which no more than 2 runners crossed the plate w/o the aid of an error or passed ball.

Among Mets pitchers with at least 80 starts, only one had a W-L% greater than 90%. That was Bobby Jones, who pitched for the team from 1993-2000. In 85 starts he won almost 10 times as many as he lost (53-5).

When the number of earned runs surrendered in a start reduces to no more than one, deGrom moves up to fifth place and his W-L% jumps to 94.7%. Further, half the pitchers in that Top 10 list are left-handed.

Since deGrom’s career began in 2014, only five MLB starters have pitched more than 80 games in which they surrendered no more than one earned run.

Jon Lester and Jacob deGrom tied for first; however, Lester had both four more wins and four more losses.

Two other Mets are in the Top 40, Marcus Stroman and Michael Wacha. Rick Porcello ranks 52nd, Noah Syndergaard 57th, and Steven Matz 91st. Ex-Met Zack Wheeler ranks 71st.

Statcast Searches: Four Core Components

This post shows how to use Statcast Search to do these investigations:

1. Find pitching data for all the pitchers in a league (National or American or both) in a year (limited by Statcast Search’s years of data)

2. Get the number of pitches each league pitcher threw to another pitcher in the same league.

3. Find how many pitches a specific pitcher threw to other pitchers.

4. Discover how many pitches a pitcher threw to every batter regardless of position.

When conducting a Statcast Search, four components are especially useful. One is Player Type. It contains 10 items: Pitcher, Batter, Catcher, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, SS, LF, CF, RF. The default value in Player Type is “Pitcher.”

The other three core items are Position, Batters, and Pitchers.

If you want to find pitching data for all the pitchers in the National League in 2019, use these four settings:

– Player Type: Pitcher
– Team: NL
– Season: 2019
– Season Type: Regular Season

If you search using those values, you will get data for 426 NL pitchers, starting with Stephen Strasburg, who threw the most pitches: 3,384.

The search results https://tinyurl.com/yawcthuu include these columns sorted by Pitches from a pitcher’s perspective: Pitches, Total, Pitch %, AB, Hits, BB, BA, SLG, EV(MPH),LA(°), Dist (ft). Pitches is the number of pitches thrown by the pitcher during all his mound appearances.

If instead of finding pitching data for all the pitchers in the National League in 2019, you want the number of pitches each NL pitcher threw to another pitcher you need to change the Position setting (second column) from the default of any position to “P” (Pitcher). https://tinyurl.com/ybwcxo3e

That reduces the number of results from 3,384 to 300. Those results show the number of pitches each NL pitcher threw to another pitcher. What is not immediately obvious is whether all the other pitchers were also in the National League though that appears to be the case. It is true.

Jacob deGrom heads the list. In 2019, with only pitchers in the batters box, he threw 220 pitches, holding those hitters to a .120 batting average.

Let’s make another setting change. This time in the Pitchers box (third column), Stephen Strasburg will be selected. (Position still is “P.”) Those results show how many pitches Strasburg threw to other pitchers: 208. By clicking his name, a pitch breakdown appears. https://tinyurl.com/ybxooty7

If Position is not set to a position, the results show how many pitches Strasburg threw to every batter regardless of position (3,384) and gives a pitch-by-pitch breakdown. https://tinyurl.com/y8aefb8u

But what if in the Batters box (third column), Stephen Strasburg was entered with nothing selected in Position? Then, the results show his hitting data for the 38 NL pitchers that he hit against. He was in the batters box against Sandy Alcantara for 22 pitches, the most, including one eight pitch at-bat that ended in a groundout. Strasburg has the most success at the plate against Braves pitcher, Touki Toussaint, getting a single and a homer in his two at-bat against Toussaint. Toussaint also was the only pitcher Strasburg got more than one hit against. The homer was both his only homer in 2019 and only the fourth in his 10-year career. Note: Setting the Position to “P” does not make any difference. https://tinyurl.com/ybnxnefa

And if there is a “P” in Position? The results are the same. https://tinyurl.com/yb8ao6v6

New York Mets All-Star Game Participation

This season, three Mets have been selected for the 90th All-Star game: Jacob deGrom, Jeff McNeil, and Pete Alonso, which is more than in 2017 and 2018 combined. In 2017 and in 2018 only one Met was chosen. Further, though McNeil has played multiple positions this season, he is listed on the All-Star roster as a second baseman, a position he has played only 22 times: in 2019, he has primarily played in 2019 in the outfield.

Since the Mets began in 1962, the team’s players have been selected for the All-Star team 121 times. The first Mets player selected, in 1962, was Richie Ashburn. In that year there were two All-Star games, one on July 10, which the National League won, and the other on July 30, which the American League won. Ashburn did not start in either game. Willie May started in centerfield in both games. He did not play in the first game, but in the second game, as a pinch-hitter, he singled in the seventh inning and scored a runner. 1962 All-Star Game Box Score by Baseball Almanac

Only four Mets have started an All-Star game in centerfield: Willie Mays in 1972, Lance Johnson in 1996, and Carlos Beltran twice, in 2007 and 2008. In the 1996 game, Johnson had 3 hits in 4 at-bats. That season, he led the National League in hits with 227, in 1996, in singles with 166, and in triples with 21. Despite his great season with the Mets, in August 1997 they traded him to the Cubs along with Mark Clark and Manny Alexander for Brian McRae, Mel Rojas, and Turk Wendell.

Besides Beltran, only 28 other Mets were selected for the All-Star game more than once while playing for the Mets. Leading the group is Tom Seaver who appeared in nine games. Among the others selected multiple times are Mike Piazza, Darryl Strawberry, and David Wright, all selected seven times.

The most Mets selected in one season to the All-Star team is six. That occurred in 2006. Somewhat surprisingly, during the 1969 season only three Mets made the All-Star team — Cleon Jones, Jerry Koosman, and Tom Seaver and, the following season, only two made it — Bud Harrelson and Tom Seaver.

Finally, whereas four Mets pitchers have started an All-Star game, only one first baseman did, Keith Hernandez, one second baseman, Ron Hunt, two shortstops, Bud Harrelson, and Jose Reyes, and two third basemen, Howard Johnson and David Wright.

The table below show how many times since 1962 a Mets player has started in an All-Star game by position. The “Different” column indicates how many different players started. For example, though Mets pitchers have been the starters in All-Star games four times, one pitcher (Dwight Gooden) started twice. The other two were Tom Seaver and Matt Harvey.

All-Star Games in which Mets player started, by position