This generation's best pitcher going from the only organization he's ever known to an upstart trying to spend its way into contention is, from a real world perspective, earth-shaking news.
But from a Fantasy Baseball perspective, not much changes. If Jacob deGrom can stay healthy, he'll be the best pitcher -- and by quite a lot, probably. And if he can't, well, he'll be like he's been the past two years, making a combined 26 starts but with a 1.90 ERA, 0.63 WHIP and 14.3 K/9.
I double-checked those numbers. They're accurate.
We can touch on the usual things, just for due diligence. Citi Field and Globe Life Field rate similarly for pitchers, so nothing to see there. The DH is in both leagues now, so moving from the NL to the AL is no big deal. Even if you want to say the Rangers lineup is a downgrade (and I don't think it's a given), the Mets notoriously have denied deGrom anything in the way of run support, which is why the last time he won even 12 games was 2017. His luck can only improve in that regard, right?
But frankly, for a pitcher of deGrom's caliber, it's all extraneous anyway. If he's healthy, he'll just strike everyone out. Since he entered the superhuman stage of his career, with his fastball picking up in velocity in 2018, he leads all pitchers with a 17.3 percent swinging-strike rate. No one else during that time (minimum 400 innings) is at even 16 percent.
And deGrom's overall numbers during that span (again, five years, which equates to 102 starts, which equates to 645 1/3 innings)? See for yourself:
Good. Night. So much of the focus these past two years has been on the health of his elbow and shoulder that it's easy to lose sight of just how incredible he is. It doesn't change whether he's on the Mets or the Rangers or anyone else, for that matter. When he's right, nobody comes close.
And that's why the Rangers were willing to guarantee $185 million over five years to a 34-year-old with a poor health history. There's no one else who can do what deGrom can do.
So should you go just as hard after him on Draft Day? Well, it'll require an early-round pick, and my No. 1 rule for early-round picks is "first, do no harm." It's one thing to sell out for upside in a massive contest against hundreds of other players like the NFBC offers. But if you're just playing against 11 other dudes, there's no need to stake your season to a lucky throw of the dice.
My personal ranking for deGrom is sixth at starting pitcher, behind Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Corbin Burnes, Sandy Alcantara and Gerrit Cole. I'd rather not be the one to take the chance, if I'm being honest, but the upper ranks at starting pitcher are so crowded right now that there's a chance he gets pushed into Round 4 or 5 in a 12-team league. And at that point, just as if he was with the Mets, deGrom is well worth it.