All the Mets’ key scouts and honchos at the time — from area scout Marlon McPhail all the way to then-GM Omar Minaya — endorsed Harvey, who has yet to lose in 12 starts for the 2013 Mets, a losing team. He’s 5-0 with a 2.17 ERA and 87 strikeouts. Back then, Mets people all marveled at how Harvey wouldn’t get rattled despite playing for a bad team (a good prep for the 2013 Mets?).
But perhaps no one was more enamored than veteran scout Bryan Lambe, who according to then-Mets scouting director Rudy Terrasas wrote a report suggesting Harvey could be another Justin Verlander – a buzz name for any of the 30 teams, but especially the Mets since they missed their chance to take Verlander six years earlier by one pick. When the Tigers made Verlander the No. 2 overall pick, the Mets were left with a consolation prize of Phil Humber, whose only noteworthy Mets moment came when he was thrown into the trade package for Johan Santana.
“At the end of the day, we were hoping [Harvey] was going to be there,” Terrasas recalled. “There was a lot of luck involved because there were [three] other teams before us [once Harper, Taillon and Machado were selected]. That’s the guy we were hoping to get to us, and he fell into our laps. We weren’t real happy with the other options.”
Terrasas, who has since been replaced as scouting director by new GM Sandy Alderson and moved into a pro scout role, recently called Lambe, who’s now with the Blue Jays, to thank him for the tout, which was hard to top. Other Mets scouts and bigwigs Sandy Johnson, David Lakey, Russ Bove, plus Minaya himself, affirmed the original recommendation of area scout McPhail.
The consensus of the Mets’ top decision makers was that Harvey was potentially a No. 2 starter in the making, with his above-average fastball, curveball and slider and still-developing changeup. All, that is, except Lambe, who invoked the Verlander name and sealed the deal for Terrasas. Terrasas is so appreciative of Lambe’s conviction he called him a few days ago to tell him, “I owe you.”
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I always love reading these types of back stories.