Jacob deGrom long ago captured the attention of New York City. He capitalized on that nationally Monday when he was named the NL Rookie of the Year.
The 26-year-old unexpectedly emerged as the Mets’ top starter this season, let alone their top rookie. A handful of top prospects, including Zack Wheeler, Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero were expected to emerge, but deGrom did instead. DeGrom wasn’t even one of the team’s top-10 prospects entering 2014, according to Baseball America.
“It’s a real honor,” deGrom told MLB Network after being named winner. “I’m real thankful.”
He beat out Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton and Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong for the award.
DeGrom more or less ran away with the award. He received 142 points total and 26-of-30 first-place votes. Hamilton received the other four first-place votes.
DeGrom becomes the first Mets player to win the award since Dwight Gooden in 1984, and the fifth all time. In addition to Gooden, he joins Tom Seaver (1967), Jon Matlack (1972) and Darryl Strawberry (1983).
DeGrom finished the season with a 9-6 record and 2.69 ERA in 22 starts. He struck out 144 batters in 140 1/3 innings and ended the season in style. He lowered his ERA in each of his final six starts and had 23 strikeouts in his final two starts, including an MLB-record eight strikeouts to start a game in his second-to-last outing.
“Even coming into this year, I didn’t really know what to expect,” said deGrom, who was in Single-A in 2013. “I came up in the bullpen and got the opportunity to start, and I just wanted to make the most of it.”
Yankees reliever Dellin Betances was a finalist for the AL Rookie of the Year award, but White Sox slugger Jose Abreu was the landslide winner, receiving all 30 first-place votes.
Abreu finished the season batting .317 with 36 homers and 107 RBIs. The Cuban defector was an All-Star, like Betances, in his first season in the majors. He led the league in slugging as well, making the decision a fairly easy one for voters.