Lost Velocity Could Be Best Thing For Harvey

The issue of Matt Harvey’s lost velocity could be the best thing to happen to him in his effort to rejuvenate his career.  The headlines after Wednesday’s loss asked if Harvey would ever be the same.

HARVEY: He shouldn't hold his head. (AP)

HARVEY: He shouldn’t hold his head. (AP)

What exactly is “the same?” Outside of four spectacular months in 2013 and several scintillating starts in 2015 – which culminated in a hissy fit in Game 5 of the World Series – we must remember for all the hype, he is 29-28 lifetime, which, unlike his string of model girlfriends, is nothing to get excited about.

That 2013 All-Star start and career 2.94 ERA and 1.08 WHIP give us reasons to be hopeful, but for all his sparkling moments there has considerable diva tarnish.

Harvey’s scouting report in 2013 showed a fastball in the high 90s, impeccable control and a bulldog, don’t-give-in mentality that culminated in him pitching through the pain of a strained forearm leading to Tommy John surgery.

Back then, Harvey’s high profile personality was outlined by his high 90s heater. Pitching coach Dan Warthen said we might not know until May whether his velocity will return. If two surgeries aren’t enough of a wake-up call, perhaps the velocity issue could be. It’s important Harvey stay in Florida at the start of the season to find his confidence more than his fastball.

Nolan Ryan was a freak who threw triple digits into his 40s. A chemically-induced Roger Clemens threw high heat late into his career. However, they, like Sandy Koufax, Bob Feller, Tom Seaver, eventually lost what made them great. Age and injury reaffirmed their pitching mortality.

Harvey is lucky in comparison. He’s only 27 and hopefully will take advantage of his lost fastball to learn how to pitch. Let’s hope he’ll learn how to pitch like Mike Mussina, Jack Morris, John Smoltz, Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine – don’t snicker on the last one, because after all, he won over 300 games and is in the Hall of Fame – which could extend the career of the pitcher many have given up on.

I wrote yesterday how the Mets should leave him off the Opening Day roster and send him for an extended spring training. I didn’t say Harvey’s career was over and the column didn’t bash him. To the contrary, I still think he can become a solid major league starter.

I have previously been hard on Harvey for his attitude and I’m not backing off. I don’t expect Harvey to consistently throw 98, but I do hope he’ll be smart enough to capitalize on being given the great gift of being young enough in his career to reinvent himself.

Hopefully, he was taking notes the past two years from watching Bartolo Colon. Harvey’s career is not over unless he mentally gives up.






5 thoughts on “Lost Velocity Could Be Best Thing For Harvey

  1. Harvey needs to get his confidence back and a longer stay in florida may help. If he gets rocked in his first few starts in the cold Northeast Spring weather it could set him back. I know they’d never do it but I wouldn’t mind seeing him in Vegas for 2 or 3 outings. He’s not really the Bulldog he tries to pretend he is. He’s an average pitcher, by his stat-line and medical history, and all the bravado in the world can’t change that until he proves to the world he is healthy and capable of being an elite pitcher again. The baseball gods have a very short memory!! Anybody remember Mark the Bird Fidrych?

    • I agree. Keep him down. Let him figure out how to use what he’s got and allow him to get stronger

  2. Until last year, Harvey was a well-above-average pitcher; nobody judges a pitcher by won-loss record anymore. Sadly, when velocity goes, it rarely comes back. Thor, not the Dark Knight, will be the Seaver of this next great Mets team.

  3. Geez, the guy is all of three starts in after a major medical procedure. Looking at the track records of some of those who have had this procedure done, I’m going to sit back and wait until June or July to make any determination of whether or not Harvey “is back.” And even then may be too soon.
    They can approach this any way they choose – bring him north with the club, leave him in FLA of send him to Vegas. I’m still going to wait until June or July. I’m nowhere near the point of declaring he “has to re-invent himself” or that “he’s done.” It’s simply way, way too early to make that determination.
    And, BTW, Harvey of 2012 – 2015 vintage is one of the best pitchers in the game. Never mind his career W-L. The run support he received in that time was, should I be kind to the Mets hitters, pathetic!