Mike Friere - What Happens to Matt Harvey?


I want to preface this article by stating that we are VERY EARLY into the 2018 season!

Yes, the Mets are off to a wonderful start (12-2) and they have the stinking Nationals coming to New York for a series that kicks off this evening.  If that goes well, they can put additional pressure on the "preseason favorites", which is a good thing.

To date, the Mets' pitching has been EXCELLENT and the driving force behind the quick start out of the gate.  It is quite clearly the Mickey Callaway/Dave Eiland effect as evidenced by a few statistics;

12 Wins and 2 Losses
2.58 Team ERA (3.93 League Average)
.631 Opponent OPS (.704 League Average)

There are additional statistics that can be referenced, but you get the idea.  IF that production continues, the Mets should remain a formidable opponent for the rest of the year and they should be in the conversation as a contender for a pennant.

Despite all of the positivity, I do see a possible storm cloud on the horizon that will develop in the coming weeks when Jason Vargas comes back from his injury. 

What happens to Matt Harvey?

You know, the guy that took over New York City for a short time after making his debut in 2012 and especially after his CRAZY 2013 season.

Combined 2012-13 statistics;

36 Starts
238 Innings Pitched
12 Wins - 10 Losses
2.42 ERA
1.00 WHIP
7.0 WAR

That type of production has LEGEND written all over it and is definitely someone you want to keep around for the long run.  Like Tom Seaver, perhaps......eh, never mind.

Anyway, so what's the big deal?  Jason Vargas or Matt Harvey?  No contest, right?

As we all know, MH had a significant injury and missed all of the 2014 season, derailing an otherwise promising start to his career.  Since that time, things have gone a bit sideways, to say the least. 

Combined 2015-17 statistics;

64 Starts
375 Innings Pitched
22 Wins - 25 Losses
4.23 ERA
1.30 WHIP
3.8 WAR

One of these things is not like the other, right?  Clearly, MH has not come all the way back from his injury issues and he isn't the same pitcher he was in 2012 and 2013.  I think it is fair to ask if he will ever return to being the dominant pitcher he used to be?

Likely to be "agent speak", but MH's "agent" (I refuse to use his name) predicted a bounce back season in 2018 for MH, now that he is healthy and angling for a free agent contract at the end of the year.  

With that in mind, his statistics for the 2018 season (SMALL sample size warning) are as follows;

3 Starts
15 Innings Pitched
0 Wins - 1 Loss
4.80 ERA
1.40 WHIP
0.2 WAR

Which version of MH do the most recent statistics remind you of?  If you had to make a wager on what the rest of his season will look like, where would you put your money?

Again, I think it is fair to ask if the "Dark Knight" version will ever return, or is this the new normal?  Personally, I prefer to rely on what has happened in the past, when trying to predict what may happen in the future.

Keep in mind that we are five years removed from his last dominant season and 62% of MH's statistical output has been rather ordinary, if not substandard.  So, in a season where the Mets may contend for more then a Wild Card, can they afford to keep MH in the rotation for the rest of the year?

If not, does he provide the most value as a trade chip or in the bullpen? 

With a "full house" in the rotation and in the bullpen, the answer to that question bears watching.


Mack Ade said...

Good morning Mike.

I loved when the Mets drafted Matt Harvey and I was rewarded when he hit the Mets mound as The Dark Knight. I'm an ex ad-guy and I love this kind of stuff.

Then 2 arm/shoulder problems developed, the first of which cost his a year due to TJS.

I believe his problems last year were a complication of the first one. Most of the TJS guys REALLY do not come back the same man.

Sadly, Harvey is not the same pitcher. He wants to be. You can see the frustration in his eyes. He can not believe he can not get these guys out.

We re starting to come down to earth this week. The juice inside has disappeared.

We have to be realistic here.

Jason Vargas struck out 11 batters (in 5 innings) in a rehab game yesterday. He will be back soon.

Zack Wheeler is not a candidate for the Cy Young, but he made another case of keeping him in the rotation.

The next start for Harvey may be his last for the Mets.

Thomas Brennan said...

Harvey and Wheeler should battle it out for the 5th spot when Vargas returns soon. I just hope the Mets are still in first place when he gets here.

Thomas Brennan said...

Hopefully, Matt's upcoming starts will not be in this persistent awful cold weather - he may not say as much, but maybe he also still lacks some "feel" - last year, he lacked a lot of feel after his thoracic surgery.

Mack Ade said...

Tim -

I always remember an ex-Mets 2nd round pick tell me back in 2007 that he dreaded when the weather got cold because he would lose his 'feel' on the ball... had same surgery as Harvey.

Thomas Brennan said...

Lack of feel due to cold is a real issue - I never had any such surgery, but my hands would be ice cold in that weather if I were pitching - some guys can't handle cold as well.

Nido and Lobaton are 2 for 14 so far - small sample size, but...is it indicative that these two guys may never (combined) climb above the Mendoza Line? Can we survive until Plawecki returns, even with his suspect bat?

And Harvey and Wheeler are a combined 4 for 8.

Realmuto's first game back, hits a 3 runs shot against Yanks.

Thomas Brennan said...

Anyone see Gerson Bautista's inaugural inning last night - I missed it - 1 inning 1 hit 1 walk 1 K - nice enough - where was he Monday night when we needed him? :)

Mack Ade said...

Tom -

I think we have to wait for Plawecki, unless Realmuto becomes available.

Only then should we put together a 3 player trade for his services.

1. I'm throw in one of the team controlled catcher prospects... either Nido or Mazeilka

2. I'm all Gavin Cecchini

3. Everyone loves a young arm... Harol Gonzalez would fit there.

Reese Kaplan said...

I'm not sure that gets it done. Their SS is hitting .299 and is a career .260 hitter. Their 3rd baseman seems like a David Thompson clone. Castro is at 2B.

I think you're onto the right mix with Mazeika and a pitcher. I think a 2nd pitcher would appeal to them more than Cecchini would.

Mack's Mets © 2012