McCann: I've caught Verlander, Price, Scherzer, but deGrom is 'on another level'

By , Audacy Sports

It seems fairly apparent that Jacob deGrom is on another tier when it comes to the elite pitchers of the game. Sure, there are other players who can be elite, like Gerrit Cole, Shane Bieber, Max Scherzer and some of the other dominant pitchers in today's game. But when you look at the WAR leaders in recent years, as well as the other statistics that are a little bit simpler, there's only one true ace among aces. And it's Jacob deGrom. Look at this list of the top-12 pitchers in WAR since 2018 and just how far ahead of the pack deGrom is.

1Jacob deGrom23.4 1.942.18204
2Max Scherzer17.9 2.762.74154
3Aaron Nola17.5 3.253.46130
4Gerrit Cole17.4 2.652.74163
5Justin Verlander14.4 2.563.07172
6Zack Wheeler14.0 3.373.23118
7Lance Lynn13.0 3.643.50129
8Trevor Bauer12.6 3.063.44147
9Mike Minor11.8 4.184.35116
10Hyun Jin Ryu11.8 2.453.12169
11Zack Greinke11.5 3.233.44135
12Shane Bieber11.4 3.263.03140
Provided by View Stathead Tool Used
Generated 6/10/2021.

Evidently, it's not only batters who are aware of the difference between deGrom and the rest of the league's best. Take it from the guy who calls the game, the one who works in sync with the pitcher, and the guy who is at least partially responsible for their success: the catcher. And in this case, we have a guy who has been behind the plate for some of the very best, which makes the argument for deGrom's otherworldly abilities even stronger.

New York Mets catcher James McCann joined Jomboy Media's "The Chris Rose Rotation" and shared what it's like to catch for deGrom.

"I mean, I've caught how many Cy Young winners. Verlander, Price, Scherzer — I'd be shocked if Lucas (Giolito) doesn't win one at some point in his career — but deGrom is on another level," McCann said. "DeGrom might be from a different planet. I really don't know. He's averaged over 100 miles per hour on his fast ball his last two starts.

"I remember [Lucas] texts me and he's like, 'I need to get on deGrom's program, what does he do?' And I was like, 'Man, I really don't think that anyone can get on deGrom's program.' "

McCann brought up an example of why deGrom is just wired different than other starters, thinking back to a bullpen session before spring training games had begun.

"I'm thinking like, man, this guy's pretty good. And I go out there and shake his hand after and he's like, 'I wasn't very good.' Like, what?" McCann recalled. "Like, 'Yea, my release point was off by a little bit.' And sure enough, the analytical guys come up and they're like, 'Yea, it was off by 0.7 inches today, you need to lower it,' whatever. I'm like, how does this guy feel that stuff?

"But he does... he feels things and makes adjustments quicker than really any other pitcher I've ever met. I don't know how he does it, but he is so in tune with his mechanics and his release point and what he wants to feel, you know, that's why he's able to make those adjustments so quickly."

So, if you just do all that stuff, you too can record a 0.62 ERA through nine starts with a 14.4 K/9 figure! Easy, right?

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