Jacob deGrom throws pitch

Jacob deGrom vs Gerrit Cole: Who’s the best pitcher in baseball?

Home » MLB » Jacob deGrom vs Gerrit Cole: Who’s the best pitcher in baseball?

From one year to the next, there is usually some debate regarding the best MLB pitchers. But when it comes to the best pitcher in the game over the last decade, the debate currently centers around Gerrit Cole and Jacob deGrom. Naturally, it helps that both pitchers practice their craft in New York for a pair of fan bases that love to debate deGrom vs Cole.

But let’s try to take the Mets-Yankees rivalry aspect out of the equation and look at whether deGrom or Cole is the best pitcher in baseball right now.

The highest highs

One of the great joys of watching elite pitchers is being able to see them in action on their best day. With their best stuff and a world of confidence, both deGrom and Cole can look like world-beaters.

However, deGrom has been a little better at sustaining a high level of success. Despite Cole having an extra year of experience in the majors, deGrom has posted an ERA under 3.00 in five seasons while Cole has only done it four times. In fact, deGrom finished his magnificent 2018 season with a 1.70 ERA, which is noticeably better than Cole’s career-best of 2.50.


In fairness to Cole, he’s made 13 postseason starts, winning eight games and pitching to a 2.68 while deGrom has made just four playoff starts, albeit with three wins.

On a bad day

One of the biggest tests of a pitcher is how they fair when they don’t have their best stuff. Can they still grind out a decent start for his team?

This is an area where deGrom excels better than almost any other pitcher. He perseveres through difficult circumstances like few pitchers, which is why his “worst” season was in 2017 when his ERA was 3.53, oddly enough when he recorded a career-high 15 wins.

Cole, on the other hand, has three seasons in which his ERA was worst than deGrom’s worst season, including a 4.26 ERA during his last season in Pittsburgh in 2017.


If awards matter, deGrom is among the exclusive class of pitchers who are multiple Cy Young winners, taking home the honors in 2018 and 2019.


He also has a Rookie of the Year trophy on his mantle, led the National League in strikeouts twice, and is a three-time all-star.

In contrast, Cole has somehow been denied a Cy Young heading into the 2021 season. However, he matches deGrom’s three all-star appearances and was the MLB strikeout leader during the 2019 season.

The intangibles

For those who believe there is more to pitching than just pitching, deGrom may have an edge over Cole. As a college shortstop, deGrom is surprisingly mobile and an excellent fielder for a 6’4’’ pitcher.

Despite his lack of a Gold Glove, it’s an area where he stands out above most pitchers, including Cole. The same can be said of deGrom’s abilities as a hitter.

In fairness, Cole left the National League after the 2017 season and hasn’t batted much since. He also has three career home runs.

But deGrom also has three career homers and a .196 career average, which is well above-average for a pitcher and better than Cole’s .163 lifetime average. Plus, Cole has struck out in 45% of his at-bats compared to just 30% for deGrom.

DeGrom vs Cole: The Verdict

In almost every respect, deGrom is a better pitcher than Cole.

That’s not to say he’s better by a wide margin or that Cole has days when he looks far better than deGrom. But when you look at everything both have accomplished throughout their entire careers, there should be no question that deGrom is the superior pitcher and the best in baseball over the past decade.

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