Mets to skip deGrom's final start, shut rookie down

Mets to skip deGrom's final start, shut rookie down

WASHINGTON -- Jacob deGrom's brilliant first season and National League Rookie of the Year Award campaign is complete. The Mets announced Tuesday that they are shutting deGrom down for the season due to an innings limit, skipping his final start of the season.

"He understands completely," manager Terry Collins said. "We explained the big picture that we've been talking about. One more start isn't going to vary any votes. One more start isn't going to show anybody that he belongs here. But one more start could lead to some trouble, and we're going to avoid that. The big picture was to make sure when this season was over, [the rotation] was going to be healthy, and we think we've reached that point."

All deGrom did in his first season was establish himself as the NL Rookie of the Year Award favorite, going 9-6 with a 2.63 ERA over his first 22 career starts. The right-hander struck out 144 batters and walked just 43 in 140 1/3 innings.

Originally recalled to pitch out of the bullpen in May, deGrom joined the rotation instead due to an injury to Dillon Gee. Allowing a total of four runs over his first three starts, he earned a fair amount of job security heading into midsummer. deGrom then reeled off one of the most dominant stretches of any big league pitcher, going 8-1 with a 1.79 ERA, 91 strikeouts and 17 walks over his final 12 starts.

"It was a big year for me, my first year in the big leagues," deGrom said. "I'll take a lot [out of it]. Knowing I can pitch here is definitely going to help me out heading into next year."

Because deGrom threw a total of just 147 2/3 innings in 2013, the Mets hoped to limit him to around 185 this summer. He finished with 178 2/3, giving the team a bit of leeway if it wanted to award him one last start. But the Mets, wary of the right rotator cuff tendinitis that deGrom battled in August and concerned about a slight velocity decrease during his last start, decided there was no reason to continue his season.

"The fifth inning scared me," Collins said of deGrom's last outing in Atlanta. "For one more start, it's not worth the agony."

The only agony left for deGrom will be waiting to see if he did enough to become the NL's Rookie of the Year Award winner, an honor that the Baseball Writers' Association of America bestows each November. His main competition, Reds outfielder Billy Hamilton, has slumped enough in September to push his on-base percentage down to .295 entering Tuesday's play. But Hamilton has also impressed with his 56 stolen bases and fine outfield defense.

All along throughout the summer, deGrom insisted that he wasn't thinking about the award.

"But now, I'm thinking about it," he said, laughing. "It would be a great honor."

Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDicomo. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.