Freeland is 14-7 with a 2.91 ERA — numbers you could argue he should get extra credit for, since he plays his home games in Coors Field. He’s in the running with Max Scherzer, Aaron Nola and deGrom, but Freeland wouldn’t pick himself.
“In my eyes, I’d say Jacob deGrom,” Freeland told Jeff Passan on the Yahoo Sports MLB Podcast this week. “What he’s been able to do, not only physically on the mound but mentally, where his team has struggled to put up runs behind him. Throughout the entire season for him, that’s kind of the way it’s been. He’s right now, what, a .500 pitcher that should be way above that? It’s incredible to see his mental toughness day in and day out — able to take the ball every fifth day and go out there and compete and try to win when his team is struggling behind him.”
There’s a lot more where that came from, so check out the full episode. You can find our entire podcast and interview with Freeland by clicking over to Apple Podcasts, Stitcher or Acast. Or you can listen in the player below.
While some baseball fans still may think it’s sacrilege that the NL Cy Young winner would have an 8-8 record, it’s looking more and more like deGrom is the frontrunner. His 1.68 ERA is unmatched among starting pitchers. Nola is closest in the NL at 2.29.
Pitcher wins — which many people realize these days are a hollow stat — would favor Scherzer, Nola and Freeland over deGrom, but Freeland certainly seems to have a high degree of respect for what deGrom has been able to do on a Mets team that’s 65-77.
“For me, whenever my team has a lead and I’m still on the mound, it helps me tremendously and gives me so much more confidence and more room to breathe, where I can go on the mound and know that I don’t have to be super-fine with everything. Where I can go out, fill up the zone, really attack hitters and know my team has my back and we have a lead.”
None of this is a knock on Freeland, of course — whose emergence as an ace this season is one of the biggest factors pushing the Rockies toward the postseason. They’re the current leaders in the NL West, meaning they have something that deGrom doesn’t have — a hope for October.
Elsewhere on this week’s Yahoo Sports MLB Podcast
Beyond our interview with Freeland, here’s what you can expect on this week’s Yahoo Sports MLB podcast:
• A fun thought experiment: If MLB got rid of fences, would it fix some of modern baseball’s problems?
• Inspired by the Detroit Tigers booth beef: Which play-by-play guys could beat up their color commentators?
• Do the Yankees and Red Sox have reason to be upset about the Josh Donaldson trade?
• Todd Frazier’s ump-fooling “catch”
• Jeff Passan tries chicken fingers dipped in Coke
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More from Yahoo Sports:
• You won’t believe what MarshawnLynch looked like in H.S.
• Pat Forde: College FB games to split contenders from pretenders
• Jets embarrass Lions in Coach Patricia’s debut
• NFL Power Rankings: Defense is the key