Tracking Jacob deGrom's pursuit of history

June 22nd, 2021

As Jacob deGrom continues his historic 2021 season, we’re keeping track of his chances at breaking three notable ERA records, as well as other fun facts and stats.

First, there’s Dutch Leonard’s 0.96 mark from 1914, the lowest ERA by a qualified pitcher in a single season since earned runs became official in both leagues (1913). That, however, was before the Live Ball Era (since 1920), when baseball’s offensive landscape looked quite different.

Second, there’s Bob Gibson’s 1.12 ERA from 1968, The Year of the Pitcher. That’s the live-ball record and the ERA mark that is most often thought of when considering potential records -- and it’s the second-lowest official ERA behind only Leonard’s.

There’s also Dwight Gooden’s 1.53 ERA from 1985, which is worth noting as it’s the closest anyone has come to Gibson’s mark since his ‘68 campaign was complete and the mound was lowered.

Through June 21: 0.50 ERA through 12th start of season

deGrom did not allow a run, yet again, in his 12th start against the Braves. He now has an 0.50 ERA, the lowest by any pitcher through his first 12 starts of a season since earned runs became official.

Chasing those three marks

Through 12 starts, Gooden was at 1.72 in ‘85 and Gibson was at 1.52. Leonard was at 0.72 through 12 appearances, nine of them starts.

Both Gooden and Gibson saw their ERAs end up even lower by season's end. From his 13th start onward, Gooden made 23 starts with a 1.43 ERA. He finished at 1.53. Gibson made 22 more starts, with a 0.91 ERA, ending up at 1.12 for the year. Leonard pitched in 24 more games, 16 of them starts, and had a 1.08 ERA in those -- ending up at 0.96.

Can deGrom best Gibson?

So far this season, deGrom has averaged around 6 innings per start. He should have around 18 starts left, assuming full health. That’s an additional 108 innings under his belt, which would give him 180 total on the season.

To stay under 1.12, he’d need to allow no more than 22 earned runs on the season, if we are assuming that innings total of 180. He’s allowed just four earned runs so far this year, giving him 18 to work with in those final 18 projected starts.

Other notes to watch

  • deGrom’s 0.51 WHIP is the lowest by any pitcher in any 12-start span since at least 1901.
  • He's allowed one or no earned runs in 12 straight starts, the longest streak among traditional starters since earned runs have been official. He broke a tie at 11 straight with Gibson in '68, of course.
  • He has 117 strikeouts and has allowed just 27 hits this season. He's the only pitcher since at least 1901 with 110 or more strikeouts and no more than 30 hits allowed in any 12-game span.
  • He's allowed just four earned runs in this 12-start span, along with those 117 strikeouts. He's the only pitcher since ER became official with at least 110 strikeouts and fewer than five earned runs allowed in an 12-game span.
  • And that .113 batting average he’s allowed? It’s the lowest for any pitcher in a 12-game span since at least 1901 (min. 70 IP).
  • deGrom's 0.50 ERA in his 12 starts this season is tied with a Gibson span in '68 for the second-lowest ERA in a 12-start single-season span since earned runs were official, among traditional starters. Jake Arrieta had a span in 2015 where his ERA was 0.41.

Entering June 21: 0.54 ERA through 11th start of season

deGrom did not allow a run in his 11th start, which ended after three innings due to injury. He now has an 0.54 ERA, the lowest by any pitcher through his first 11 starts of a season since earned runs became official. That's what he'll enter his 12th start of the season Monday at Citi Field against the Braves with.

Chasing those three marks

Through 11 starts, Gooden was at 1.79 in ‘85 and Gibson was at 1.66. Leonard was at 0.50 through 11 appearances, but that doesn’t negate deGrom’s aforementioned record, as Leonard made three relief appearances among his first 11 outings.

Both Gooden and Gibson saw their ERAs end up even lower by season's end. From his 12th start onward, Gooden made 24 starts with a 1.41 ERA. He finished at 1.53. Gibson made 23 more starts, with a 0.87 ERA, ending up at 1.12 for the year. Leonard pitched in 25 more games, 17 of them starts, and had a 1.18 ERA in those -- ending up at 0.96.

Can deGrom best Gibson?

So far this season, deGrom has averaged around 6 innings per start. He should have around 19 starts left, assuming full health. That’s an additional 114 innings under his belt, which would give him 181 total on the season.

To stay under 1.12, he’d need to allow no more than 22 earned runs on the season, if we are assuming that innings total of 181. He’s allowed just four earned runs so far this year, giving him 18 to work with in those final 19 projected starts.

Other notes to watch

  • deGrom’s 0.51 WHIP is the lowest by any pitcher in his first 11 starts of a season since the mound was moved to its current distance in 1893, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. It's also the lowest WHIP for a pitcher in any 11-start span, at any point in a season, since at least 1901.
  • He's allowed one or no earned runs in 11 straight starts, tied for the longest streak among traditional starters since earned runs have been official. He's tied with Gibson in '68, of course, at 11 straight.
  • He has 111 strikeouts and has allowed just 26 hits this season. He's the only pitcher since at least 1901 with 110 or more strikeouts and no more than 30 hits allowed in any 11-game span.
  • He's allowed just four earned runs in this 11-start span, along with those 111 strikeouts. He's the only pitcher since ER became official with at least 110 strikeouts and fewer than five earned runs allowed in an 11-game span.
  • And that .117 batting average he’s allowed? It’s the lowest for any pitcher in his first 11 appearances of a season since at least 1901 (min. 60 IP). It's also the lowest for any pitcher in an 11-game span since at least 1901 (min. 60 IP).

Entering June 16: 0.56 ERA through 10th start of season

deGrom did not allow a run of any kind in his 10th start and now has an 0.56 ERA, the lowest by any pitcher through his first 10 starts of a season since earned runs became official (min. 50 IP). That's what he'll enter his 11th start of the season Wednesday at Citi Field against the Cubs with.

Chasing those three marks

Through 10 starts, Gooden was at 1.89 in ‘85 and Gibson was at 1.52. Leonard was at 0.52, but that doesn’t negate deGrom’s aforementioned record, as Leonard made three relief appearances among his first 10 outings.

Both Gooden and Gibson saw their ERAs end up even lower by season's end. From his 11th start onward, Gooden made 25 starts with a 1.39 ERA. He finished at 1.53. Gibson made 24 more starts, with a 0.96 ERA, ending up at 1.12 for the year. Leonard pitched in 26 more games, 18 of them starts, and had a 1.15 ERA in those -- ending up at 0.96.

Can deGrom best Gibson?

So far this season, deGrom has averaged around 6 1/3 innings per start. He should have around 20 starts left, assuming full health. That’s an additional 126 2/3 innings under his belt, which would give him 190 2/3 total on the season.

To stay under 1.12, he’d need to allow no more than 23 earned runs on the season, if we are assuming that innings total of 190 2/3. He’s allowed just four earned runs so far this year, giving him 19 to work with in those final 20 projected starts.

Other notes to watch

  • deGrom’s 0.53 WHIP is the lowest by any pitcher in his first 10 starts of a season since the mound was moved to its current distance in 1893, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. It's also the lowest WHIP for a pitcher in any 10-start span, at any point in a season, since at least 1901 (min. 50 IP).
  • He's allowed one or no earned runs and gone at least five innings in 10 straight starts, the second-longest single-season streak since earned runs have been official. That record belongs to Gibson in '68, of course, at 11 straight. (Note: Kevin Gausman is also currently on an active, nine-start such streak)
  • He has 103 strikeouts and has allowed just 26 hits this season. He's the only pitcher since at least 1901 with 100 or more strikeouts and no more than 26 hits allowed in any 10-game span.
  • He's allowed just four earned runs in this 10-start span, along with those 103 strikeouts. The only other pitcher with at least 100 strikeouts and fewer than five earned runs allowed in a 10-start span since 1913 is Chris Sale in 2018.
  • And that .121 batting average he’s allowed? It’s the lowest for any pitcher in his first 10 appearances of a season since at least 1901 (min. 50 IP).
  • He has five RBIs this season and has allowed just the four earned runs. He's the first pitcher with more RBIs than earned runs allowed over any 10-start span in a single season since RBI became official in 1920, according to STATS.

Entering June 11: 0.62 ERA before 10th start of season

deGrom enters his start against the Padres at Citi Field with an 0.62 ERA, the lowest by any pitcher through his first nine starts of a season since earned runs have become official (min. 40 IP).

Chasing those three marks

Through nine starts, Gooden was at 1.69 in ‘85 and Gibson was at 1.34. Leonard was at 0.53, but that doesn’t negate deGrom’s aforementioned record, as Leonard made two relief appearances among his first nine outings.

That means both Gooden and Gibson actually saw their ERAs go down the rest of the way. From his 10th start onward, Gooden made 26 starts with a 1.48 ERA to finish at 1.53. Gibson made 25 more starts, posting a 1.04 ERA in those and ending up at 1.12. Leonard pitched in 27 more games, 18 of them starts, with a 1.15 ERA in them, ending up at 0.96.

Can deGrom best Gibson?

With all due respect to Mr. Leonard, the number on everyone's minds is Gibson’s 1.12. So, can deGrom really do it? So far this season, he’s averaged around 6 1/3 innings per start. Including Friday, he would have around 21 starts left, assuming full health. That’s an additional 133 innings under his belt, which would give him 191 total on the season.

To stay under 1.12, he’d need to allow no more than 23 earned runs on the season, if we are assuming that innings total of 191. He’s allowed just four ER so far this year, giving him 19 to work with in those final 21 projected starts.

Other notes to watch

  • deGrom’s 0.57 WHIP is the lowest by any pitcher in his first nine starts of a season since the mound was moved to its current distance in 1893, according to the Elias Sports Bureau (min 40 IP).
  • He's allowed one or no earned runs and gone at least five innings in nine straight starts, tied for the second-longest single-season streak since earned runs have been official. That record belongs to Gibson in '68, of course, at 11 straight. (Note: Kevin Gausman is also currently on an active, nine-start such streak)
  • He has 93 strikeouts and has allowed just 25 hits this season. The only other pitcher with a nine-game span with at least 90 strikeouts and 25 or fewer hits allowed in a single season since at least 1901 is Johan Santana, with two overlapping such spans in 2004.
  • He’s allowed just four earned runs in this nine-start span, along with those 93 strikeouts. The only other pitcher with at least 90 strikeouts and fewer than five earned runs allowed in a nine-start span since 1913 is Chris Sale, in two overlapping spans in 2018.
  • And that .128 batting average he’s allowed? It’s the second-lowest for any pitcher in his first nine starts of a season since at least 1901 (min. 40 IP), behind only 1955 Bob Turley’s .124.