Based on his latest impressive effort, the Mets' 3-1 victory over the Seattle Mariners Tuesday night, he's solidly in there.
"He's always flown under the radar. Still is," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "This guy has numbers to match up against any rookie in the league. And you never hear his name mentioned."
DeGrom (4-5) held the Mariners to five hits and one run over his seven innings. He walked just one and struck out seven.
Over his last six starts, deGrom is 4-1 with a 1.59 ERA. Even more impressive, he's 3-0 with a 0.86 ERA over his past three, walking three and striking out 26.
"I'm telling you this guy, he's going to figure it out and he's going to be a tough guy to deal with," Collins said.
Travis d'Arnaud drove in a run with a gift triple off Erasmo Ramirez (1-5), who was recalled from Triple-A Tacoma for the start, and scored on Ruben Tejada's soft single in the second inning to help New York end a three-game skid.
Duda hit his 15th home run, a 446-foot drive off the second deck scoreboard in right field in the eighth.
Endy Chavez led off the bottom of the first with a single then deGrom retired the next 11 batters.
After an out, DeGrom struck out Robinson Cano, the league's second leading hitter, in a nine-pitch at-bat.
"He was fouling off a lot of pitches," deGrom said. "Then it got to 3-2 and I wanted to throw the changeup. That's what d'Arnaud put down. That made me feel a little bit better about throwing it. It was a good one and he swung through it.
"Warming up, it (changeup) was really good. With a lot of lefties in the lineup, it was a good night to have my changeup being really good," deGrom said.
Bobby Abreu opened the second with a single to left. Then d'Arnaud stroked a sinking line drive to center. James Jones tracked it awkwardly, sliding to stop it but the ball skipped past him for a RBI triple.
"I didn't extend my hand the way I should have," Jones said. "It was early in the game and I'll be aggressive. I felt I had a better chance sliding. That's what my body told me."
Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon, asked if the slide was a good gamble, said, "probably not. He's going to make some mistakes on the aggressive side. He will learn from them and get better."
Ackley advanced to third when Daniel Murphy's relay to the plate sailed past the catcher but Ackley was left stranded.
Ackley, who was 2 for 3, is hitting .377 in July after hitting just .214 in the first three months of the season.
Ramirez went seven innings, allowing two runs on five hits. He walked two and matched his career high with 10 strikeouts. He also hit two batters. It is his fifth straight loss. He has not won since April 1.
Over his previous four starts -- all no-decisions -- Ramirez had a 0.90 ERA with 14 strikeouts and 16 walks.
Ramirez was recalled from Triple-A Tacoma before the game for his fourth stint with the big club. He likely will be sent back down after the game to make room for Wednesday's starter, Taijuan Walker.
Duda gave the Mets a two-run cushion with his drive off the second-deck facade on a 3-1 pitch from Tom Wilhelmsen.
Walker was sent to Tacoma just before the All-Star break with an emphasis on working on his control. "I think he's better," Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said. "He has worked out some things down there, from a mechanical standpoint." Another top prospect, LHP James Paxton, had a second rehab start for Tacoma Tuesday. He likely will get one more before a decision will be made on his status. ... The Mariners, 53-47, have not had better than a .500 record after 100 games since they were 52-48 in 2009. . Chavez is 12 for 27 (.444) leading off. ... Mets LHP Scott Rice, who made the big league roster last season after 14 years in the minors, will have elbow surgery Wednesday in New York to remove bone spurs in his left elbow. "For Scott, he's got to be very disappointed," manager Terry Collins said. "He spent 15 years in the minor leagues, finally get to the bigs, have success then have it squashed like he has." ... Bartolo Colon, the Mets starter Wednesday, is 12-1 with a 2.10 ERA at Safeco Field.