Before exiting with concerns about his lower back Sunday, Jacob deGrom had expertly laid down a bunt single and had run the bases with textbook aptitude. His combination of a 0.68 ERA and .467 batting average befits a first-round high school talent playing amid future plumbers and accountants.
DeGrom is pulling it off in the majors.
He is the Mets’ best player — emphasis on “player.” Now, the Mets will be without him for at least a week and a half. The team reported an MRI showed no structural damage in their ace’s back. Nevertheless, deGrom had right-side tightness and was placed on the injured list.
There is no good time to lose your best player. But the Mets had three off-days in 11 days beginning Monday. Thus, if deGrom returns at the earliest date, May 21 in Miami, he would miss just one full rotation turn. There is also this: The Mets are just 3-3 when deGrom starts, continuing a trend of not maximizing victories when he pitches. But their 13-10 record when deGrom doesn’t start accentuates greater talent and depth to withstand his short absence — they were 8-4 when he started in 2020, 18-30 when he did not.
That talent/depth has not manifested yet on offense. The Mets have carried over 2020 runners in scoring position deficiencies while mixing in a surprising lack of power. Michael Conforto has broken from an early-season funk, and Francisco Lindor and Dom Smith are probably too talented not to do the same.