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Acuna and deGrom gave historic performances in 2019

(David Zalubowski/Associated Press)
January 1, 2020

It's the point in the offseason when we have plenty of time to reflect on the past year.

It's the point in the offseason when we have plenty of time to reflect on the past year.

In the cold of winter -- depending on where your baseball fandom takes place -- it's time to warm up by recounting some of the history that happened on the field last season.
Jacob deGrom  (Kingsport 2010) did it, again
While Verlander edged Cole in the AL, deGrom easily won the National League Cy Young Award and became the 11th pitcher to capture it in consecutive seasons. In 2018, deGrom had just 10 wins, and the Mets went 14-18 in his starts -- the fewest wins by any starting pitcher to win the Cy Young Award, and the lowest team winning percentage in a Cy Young Award winner's starts. His '19 numbers? An identical 14-18 Mets record when he started, and 11 individual wins.
In other words, deGrom now owns the top two spots on the list for fewest wins by a starter in a Cy Young Award-winning season and lowest team winning percentage in a Cy Young Award winner's starts. So how has he done it? By being nearly unhittable. deGrom didn't match his 1.70 ERA from 2018, but he had a 2.07 ERA over his final 27 starts of '19, allowing just a .199 opponents' average in that span. He finished the season on a 23-inning scoreless streak. Since the start of '18, he's made 47 starts in which he allowed two or fewer runs, most among traditional starters in that span.
Ronald Acuña Jr. (Danville 2015) with the power, speed combo
Acuña ended up three stolen bases shy of a 40-40 season, but there's plenty notable in his combination of 41 homers and 37 steals. At age 21, he became the youngest player to record a 40-30 season. In fact, he was just the third player with 40 or more homers in a season at age 21 or younger, along with Eddie Mathews and Mel Ott.
Acuña will enter the 2020 season -- just the third of his Major League career -- with 15 career leadoff homers, just two shy of tying Felipe Alou for the Braves' franchise record.