by Christian Fazzini
At the start of the season, the Mets were desperate for starting pitching. R.A. Dickey was traded, which turned out good for the Mets since he is getting rocked in the American League. Johan Santana is out for the season with another injury. What else is new? So what would the Mets do now? Would the ace of their staff really be John Niese, who has won 37 big league games in his career or would somebody else step up?
Cue Matt Harvey.
At first, all the hype was unbearable. Tuning into WFAN 660 AM, the Mets fans were in their glory after his first start. “He’s the next Tom Seaver!” and “ By the end of the year, he will be the best pitcher in New York!” and “Cy Young contender!”
Really? After one start, come on. The media, along with the fans were building this kid up, so I had to check him out for myself.
I tuned into the game when he started against the Phillies. I figured against a good lineup, and pitching in a hitters ballpark like Citizens Bank Park, we will see what this kid is really made of. It didn’t take long for me to realize that this kid is legitimate.
With an impressive four pitch repertoire of a fastball, curveball, slider and changeup, he mowed down the Phillies hitters one by one. Recording an impressive nine strikeouts in seven innings while only surrendering three hits and one run, Harvey dominated the Phillies.
One particular pitch that opened my eyes to Harvey’s outstanding ability was a pitch he struck out Ryan Howard on. High heat. Even though Ryan Howard is a proven power hitter, Harvey was not afraid to challenge him with his fastball. In a full count, Harvey blew a 98 mph fastball straight by Howard towards the end of the game. As Harvey was coming off the mound, it looked like he was saying something in his head, something like, “Yeah, get used to that because I’m here to stay.”
At 24 years of age, Matt Harvey, in his first three starts, has put together Cy Young numbers:
*22 innings pitched, 6 hits allowed, 2 earned runs, 6 walks, 25 strikeouts, 0.82 ERA and a 0.55 WHIP.
I don’t care if you’re a 10 year veteran or a rookie, those numbers are impressive.
But can he sustain this success throughout the season? From watching him pitch, I see no reason why he cannot continue to pitch at this level for this season and seasons to come. Barring his health of course; sorry for jinxing it Mets fans.
His mechanics are impeccable, he is not afraid to challenge hitters, his command is flawless and he certainly has the pitches to compliment all of his other intangibles. The mid 80s to low 90s tight slider, the 12-6 curve that drops off the table in an instant, the low 80s changeup that moves away from hitters and a ridiculous high 90s fastball that cuts in on and away from hitters puts this Harvey ahead of his class.
For now, there is a light at the end of the tunnel for the Mets’ future. Harvey, with his Cy Young type stuff, could easily be an ace for this organization for a very long time. Let’s just hope he does not fall into the Mets jinx like Jason Bay, Carlos Beltran, Johan Santana and many other Mets before him.