In the pressure cooker that is managing a Major League Baseball team in New York, Mets skipper Luis Rojas announced a decision over the weekend that everyone in the Big Apple — and the planet — could agree on.
Jacob deGrom will be the Mets’ Opening Day starter, Rojas revealed on Saturday.
“You can call it an easy decision,” Rojas said, who probably had his mind made up about this last spring training.
The 32-year-old right-hander and two-time Cy Young Award winner enters hallowed company with the nod from Rojas as he’ll become just the third Met in franchise history to start three-consecutive Opening Days.
Tom Seaver opened each Mets season for 10-straight years, from 1968-1977, while Doc Gooden got the call four-times-in-a-row from 1988-1991.
“It’s a huge honor. I’ve said it before, every time I’m mentioned with those guys, that’s an honor as well,” deGrom said. “It’s something that I try not to think too much about, trying to keep things simple. But the more it’s mentioned, you definitely start thinking about it. So it definitely is a cool thing.”
An honor that’s certainly well-deserved as Rojas gushed about his star arm.
“Everyone knows that’s where he falls into place,” Rojas said. “The rest of the pitchers here look up to him, not only for his abilities on the field but the way he carries himself. He’s one of the first people in the clubhouse every day. He’s always early, working hard, and has a plan with everything he does.”
In Mets franchise history, there have only been six other pitchers in total to make at least three Opening Day starts with Tom Glavine (four), Johan Santana (four), Bobby Jones (three), and Al Leiter (three) joining Seaver and Gooden on that list.
Saturday also saw deGrom make his spring-training debut where he dominated once again, striking out three over two innings of work while allowing a hit and a walk to the Houston Astros in a rain-shortened 6-1 victory.
The talk of the day, however, was the ace’s ability to touch 100 mph on the radar gun as his velocity continues to rise since making his MLB debut in 2014.
“If I knew how to keep increasing it, I think I would keep trying to increase it even more,” deGrom said.
“I don’t think there’s another pitcher like him in the rest of the league,” Mets closer Edwin Diaz said. “He’s from a different planet.”