7/23/2014 8:48 P.M. ET
deGrom making surprising case for NL ROY
By Anthony DiComo / MLB.com
SEATTLE -- After Jacob deGrom reeled off seven more strong innings in Tuesday's win over the Mariners, Mets manager Terry Collins noted that deGrom has "numbers to match up any rookie in the league."
Upon closer inspection, that's not just managerial bluster. With August right around the corner, deGrom and Cincinnati's Billy Hamilton appear to be descending into a two-man race for National League Rookie of the Year.
With 39 stolen bases and a .280 average over his first 95 games, Hamilton may currently be the man to beat. But he is still a flawed candidate, considering his .313 on-base percentage and the fact that he derives much of his value from baserunning and defense -- areas that voters often neglect when choosing between players.
Most of the other top rookies in baseball are in the American League, from Jose Abreu to George Springer to Dellin Betances. Others could still crop up in the NL race, but few have a current case that can compare to that of deGrom, who boasts a 3.01 ERA in 13 starts with 79 strikeouts in 80 2/3 innings.
The Mets have not had a Rookie of the Year winner since Darryl Strawberry and Dwight Gooden won back-to-back from 1983-84.
Duda among Mets thriving from winter workouts
SEATTLE -- It is perhaps little coincidence that while Mets first baseman Lucas Duda enjoys a breakout year, Ruben Tejada is somewhat unexpectedly holding down the starting job at shortstop.
Tejada's main competition in the Minors, Wilmer Flores, has been on fire for weeks, while infielders Matt Reynolds and Dominic Smith have emerged on the prospect scene. Juan Lagares, meanwhile, has fended off all comers for the starting center field position.
Those players all participated in the Mets' independently-run fitness camp this winter in Michigan, sacrificing a large chunk -- in some cases, multiple chunks -- of their offseasons to train using new and different methods.
As those players now enter the so-called dog days of the summer, some -- such as Duda, who hit a 446-foot home run Tuesday against the Mariners -- are thriving.
"Everybody gets tired," Duda said. "Everybody gets beat up. I think staying healthy is a mix between good offseason program, diet, a good in-season program and some luck."
Mike Barwis, who runs the Michigan facility at which the Mets trained, and who used the gym as the basis for a new reality television show, estimated in a recent telephone interview that 95 percent of his training techniques were novel for the Mets who attended.
"What we do is not really done other places in the world or the country," said Barwis, whose "American Muscle" show airs on Discovery. "We're probably one of the most cutting-edge scientific programs in the world."
How much that is helping the Mets now, in late July, is impossible to know. But the system does have its believers.
"Obviously he's very knowledgeable," Duda said of Barwis. "I think Juan and Ruben can attest that we came into Spring Training in pretty good shape. Hopefully, that will continue to translate on the field."
• Outfielder Curtis Granderson sat out a second consecutive game Wednesday due to illness. Granderson remains day-to-day, but said he was feeling significantly better Wednesday and is a good bet to return to the lineup for Thursday's series opener in Milwaukee.
• Outfielder Chris Young, who left Monday's game early with cramping in his left calf, returned to the starting lineup Wednesday.
• Reliever Buddy Carlyle cleared waivers Wednesday and was outrighted to Triple-A Las Vegas. Carlyle, 36, posted a 1.29 ERA in five appearances for the Mets.