Jacob deGrom’s Cy Young Crown Could Be Taken by 1 Pitcher That Has Barely Made $1 Million

Jacob deGrom has been one of the best pitchers in baseball for the New York Mets the last two seasons. deGrom’s work on the mound has helped him earn two straight NL Cy Young Awards. However, his Cy Young Award reign could end this season. When looking at candidates who could take the crown from him, many people will think of Clayton Kershaw or Max Scherzer. However, one pitcher that has barely made any money could be the best in the NL this season — Cincinnati Reds star Luis Castillo.

Jacob deGrom has been a dominant pitcher for the New York Mets

Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom has won two straight NL Cy Young Awards. However, he could lose his crown to a pitcher that has barely been paid.
Jacob deGrom of the New York Mets delivers a pitch during batting practice in 2020. | Mark Brown/Getty Images

deGrom made his MLB debut with the New York Mets in May 2014. He has been one of the best pitchers in the MLB ever since. 

In 2014, deGrom ultimately started 22 games, and he had a 2.69 ERA, which led to him winning the NL Rookie of the Year award. deGrom then earned his first All-Star selection in 2015. He ultimately went 14-8 on the mound with a 2.54 ERA in 30 starts that year. 

The Mets were really good in 2015 too. They went 90-72 and went to the World Series. deGrom went 2-0 in the NLDS with a 1.38 ERA and 1-0 in the NLCS with a 2.57 ERA. 

deGrom continued to pitch well in 2016 and 2017, having an ERA under 4.00 each of those seasons. However, the 2018 season was deGrom’s best on the mound. He ultimately had an NL-leading 1.70 ERA in 32 starts, which helped him win the NL Cy Young Award.

Then in 2019, deGrom continued to dominate on the mound as he had a 2.43 ERA in 32 starts, winning his second consecutive NL Cy Young Award.

Luis Castillo became a star in 2019

Castillo began pitching in the minors at just 19 years old, and he found a lot of success in a few farm systems. He had a 2.26 ERA in 26 games and 24 starts in the minors in 2016. He then had a 2.58 ERA in 14 starts in 2017. Castillo then also began pitching for the Reds during that 2017 season.

At 24 years old, Castillo made his debut on June 23, 2017. He ultimately pitched in five innings, allowed five hits, two earned runs, and he struck out five batters. Castillo went on to start in 15 games for the Reds in 2017, and he had a 3.12 ERA. 

Castillo got more time on the mound in 2018. He ultimately started in 31 games for the Reds and had a 4.30 ERA, but the 2019 season was his breakout year. He went 15-8 on the mound for the Reds, had a 3.40 ERA, and earned his first All-Star selection. 

Castillo had several big games for the Reds too. He had 11 strikeouts in a win over the San Francisco Giants, and he had nine strikeouts while only allowing one hit in 7.2 innings against the Brewers. Castillo also had 13 strikeouts in a win over the Los Angeles Angels; he had 11 strikeouts in a win over the Miami Marlins, and he had 10 strikeouts in a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks. 

Luis Castillo can take Jacob deGrom’s NL Cy Young crown


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Being such a successful pitcher for such a long period, deGrom has made over an estimated $25.08 million in his career, according to Spotrac. Of course, some other contenders for the NL Cy Young Award this year are Clayton Kershaw — who has made over an estimated $219.36 million — and Max Scherzer, who has made over an estimated $109.47 million. 

However, Castillo is aiming for that award this season after accomplishing his two goals last season of being an Opening Day starter and earning an All-Star selection.

“I try to set goals every year,” Castillo said in February, according to WCPO. “Even though I got those two goals, I want to get three goals. I want to get three goals and add the Cy Young and make the playoff.”

If Castillo — who Forbes listed as having the best changeup in baseball — can win the NL Cy Young Award this year, he will be an absolute steal for the Reds too. He has only made an estimated $1.64 million in his career and will make under an estimated $500,000 this season. He’s not only going to want to prove that he is a dominant pitcher, but he probably wants to get big money soon too. 

Jacob deGrom better watch out. Luis Castillo not only has the talent, but he has the extra motivation to come and take his crown this season.

Stats courtesy of Baseball Reference and contract numbers courtesy of Spotrac