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Jacob deGrom

Jacob deGrom is one of the few bright spots on a New York Mets team that often feels like it is waiting for a bright future that may never arrive.

The story of Tuesday night could have been about David Wright being shut down for the rest of the 2014 season with “persistent inflammation” in his left shoulder. And for the national media – assuming that they are still paying attention to the Mets at all – it probably was.

But for those of us who still actually watch the Mets play (even if we decide not to spend the money and time to go out to Citi Field), the story was all deGrom. Eight innings, nine strikeouts, just three hits and no runs allowed. DeGrom retired the last 14 Rockies batters he faced, making Terry Collins‘ decision to go to his closer to start the ninth inning a curious one.

(Since deGrom had already thrown 100 pitches and Collins has been facing criticism for over-extending his young starters, we probably shouldn’t even have been thinking about his chances for a complete game shutout, I guess.)

DeGrom still has a chance to win 10 games in his rookie season, even though his first victory didn’t come until June 21. He’d be among the National League ERA leaders if he’d pitched enough innings to qualify. And if Cincinnati Reds OF Billy Hamilton is his only serious competition, deGrom should be a lock to win the NL Rookie of the Year award.

What makes it even more special is that deGrom was not one of those over-hyped prospects who rarely seem to pan out. Even the people who thought he might contribute to the 2014 Mets expected deGrom would be a bullpen arm.

Jacob deGrom's regular and Chrome prospects cards from the 2014 Bowman set
Jacob deGrom’s regular and Chrome prospects cards from the 2014 Bowman set

Someone who had a role in determining the 2014 Bowman checklist believed in Jacob deGrom. These are the 26-year-old right-hander’s first baseball cards, not counting ones produced as part of minor league team sets. And thanks to Listia, I added them to my collection today along with a couple of other Bowman Chrome Prospects cards. (I’m now a little bit closer to finishing my 2014 Bowman Mets team set.)