Jacob deGrom is easily the best pitcher on the planet right now, even though the New York Mets ace has battled injuries he has a legit shot at winning an MVP trophy. Someone clearly believes deGrom has had help reaching his level of dominance, as after the first inning of his Monday start, umpires checked him for foreign substances.
After deGrom was electric in the first against the Atlanta Braves, topping 100 mph five times (he also hit 99 mph once) in an eight-pitch inning, umpires gathered around him as he walked off the field. The inspected his glove, cap and the inside of his belt. He passed inspection with flying colors and went to the dugout.
Here's video of what happened:
Get ready to see a whole lot more of this. Monday is the first day MLB umpires will be checking pitchers for foreign substances, so this is going to continue. It's good for the game that a guy as good as deGrom passed.
Frankly, I don't think a whole lot of pitchers are going to get caught. They had weeks of warning that this was coming and I believe most will stop using "sticky stuff" to avoid being suspended. The real tell will be if a bunch of high-profile guys begin to struggle over the next few weeks and we see persistent drops in spin rate. That will be the indication that they were cheating.
Entering Monday's start, deGrom had been incredible this season. In 11 starts he's 6-2 with a 0.54 ERA, 0.51 WHIP and 111 strikeouts in 67 innings. Again, he's a legitimate MVP candidate and a shoo-in to win his third Cy Young Award in four season.