Oct 21

2012 Mets Player Review: Matt Harvey

MATT HARVEY, RHP 

 PRESEASON EXPECTATIONS: The expectations of Matt Harvey were minimal for this summer. The Mets’ 2010 first-round pick out of North Carolina – and the seventh choice overall – was to continue his development in the minor leagues. The best-case scenario had him continuing his development at Triple-A Buffalo and join the Mets as a September call-up, when he would make two or three starts to give the big club an idea of whether he would fit into their plans for 2013. Even when the Mets’ rotation started to crumble, the talk was he wasn’t ready and GM Sandy Alderson didn’t want to rush him to the major league level. The scouting report on the 23-year-old Harvey was he had a plus-fastball, good secondary pitches and the ability to keep his composure on the mound. At similar points in their careers, Harvey was rated ahead of Mike Pelfrey, the Mets’ first-round pick in 2005.

2012 SEASON REVIEW: Harvey was 7-5 with a 3.68 ERA in 20 starts for the Bisons before the Mets promoted him in late July. Minor league hitters batted .233 against him and he had 112 strikeouts and only 48 walks in 110 innings, numbers that clearly indicated he was overpowering batters. With the Mets’ rotation in shambles, Alderson had no option but to elevate him to see what he could do on the next level. At the time, the Mets were fading and the summer was spiraling out of control. Unable or unwilling to make a midseason acquisition – take your pick – Alderson had to do something to keep the dwindling attention of Mets fans and Harvey was the answer. Harvey pitched 5.1 scoreless innings at Arizona, July 26 to win his major league debut. He struck out 11 and walked three to have Mets fans drooling about the possibilities. However, he was victimized by the Mets’ dismal offense and lost his next three starts – they gave him only four runs in those games – but there was still a lot to like about Harvey’s game, especially his willingness to challenge hitters and his walks-to-strikeouts ratio. Unlike Pelfrey, Harvey possessed a poise and calmness about him. His command was exceptional and his stuff overpowering. He seemed to get a strikeout whenever the situation demanded. Harvey finished his first year at 3-5 with a 2.73 ERA and 1.15 WHIP. He struck out 70 with 26 walks in 59 innings, and batters hit a paltry .200 with a .338 slugging percentage against him. The Mets shut him down after his Sept. 19 start against Philadelphia to conserve his arm.

LOOKING AT 2013: I don’t know if the Mets will conserve his innings next summer the way the Nationals did Stephen Strasburg. Let’s hope not, but if they are inclined to jump on that bandwagon, let’s hope they don’t yank the rug out from under him in September, but perhaps have him skip a start once a month. That would mean six starts and possibly up to 42 innings for the summer. The Mets are counting on him to be in the rotation on Opening Day and develop into a solid, consistent starter. Actually, they are counting on him to become a star. Anything less than that would be a disappointment.

NEXT:  A look at the other pitchers who started games for the 2012 Mets.

Aug 17

Matt Harvey Gives Us Something

I’ll admit, there are two things I want to see from the 2012 Mets. The first is to finish over.500, which, while demonstrating a strong positive step, is becoming more remote. The second is for R.A. Dickey to win 20 games.

While watching Dickey get hammered earlier this week I started to wonder if 20 wins was a long shot and whether there was anything interesting and compelling to concern myself with this team.

Matt Harvey answered that question last night in a scintillating performance against the Reds, perhaps the NL’s best team.

Harvey ended a personal three-game losing streak with 7.2 strong innings iced by hitting a two-run double as the Mets salvaged the series. In this recent stretch of their second half freefall, the Mets have lost eight of their last 12 games.

Yes, it is one start, but for the most part he has been solid in each of this first four starts. Last night was easily his best. Since 2006, when the Mets last saw a meaningful October, the Mets received similar strong glimpses from guys such as Mike Pelfrey, John Maine, Oliver Perez, Jon Niese and Dillon Gee, but there’s something different about Harvey, a first-round pick from North Carolina.

He just seems polished beyond his experience.

Unlike some of the previous flashes mentioned, Harvey leaves the impression of working with a plan. Maybe there was a chemistry click with Kelly Shoppach, and Terry Collins needs to pair those two again. It is fun watching Harvey work quickly and pound the corners for strikes. He’s not afraid to go inside on a hitter, works efficiently and with poise.

Maybe Harvey won’t be electric like Doc Gooden, but he doesn’t figure to be an enigma such as Pelfrey, either.

 

Apr 27

Mets Shouldn’t Fool With Matt Harvey Now

Even if Chris Schwinden gets rocked tonight in Colorado, the Mets shouldn’t respond with Matt Harvey.

HARVEY: No need to force feed him.

There is a hole in the Mets’ rotation following Mike Pelfrey’s elbow injury and likely more than one candidate will be used to fill the void. Schwinden gets first crack. Who knows? Maybe he’ll be like Dillon Gee was last summer and win from the start.

However, if he doesn’t, the Mets would be making a mistake to dip into their minor league for Harvey, their first-round pick – and the seventh overall selection – in the 2010 draft out of North Carolina.

Harvey has pitched well for Triple-A Buffalo, and seemingly has all the tools. He’s  been clocked from 93 to 95 on his fastball and has a plus curveball and change-up.

But, he doesn’t know how to pitch in the major leagues and is just learning on the Triple-A level. Rushing him now could cause a setback in his development should he be hit hard. The Mets rushed Jenrry Mejia and Pelfrey, and shouldn’t take the gamble on Harvey.

Last night, the Mets fielded a home grown lineup for the first time in 41 years. They are developing a good, young core, and Harvey could be a key figure on the mound in the future. Despite the Mets off to a good start, the future isn’t now for them.

The prudent thing is to develop Harvey for this season, and perhaps give him a taste as a September call-up. Let him learn to walk before they let him run. They won’t regret that decision.

 

Jun 07

Mets select UNC’s Matt Harvey

HARVEY: Taken with seventh pick.

The Mets selected North Carolina right-hander Matt Harvey with the seventh pick in the tonight’s draft.

Harvey, a junior, is 6-4 and 225 pounds. He’s a power pitcher with a plus fastball, clocked at 96 mph., and a change-up clocked at a difference of over 10 mph.

The scouting report on him is he’s not afraid to challenge hitters inside and has an above average change-up.

Harvey went 8-3 with a 3.09 ERA for the Tar Heels with 102 strikeouts in 96 innings.

His agent is Scott Boras.

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