Looking Back At Last Year’s Mets First Rounder

Okay I’m back from my 48-hour Post-MLB Draft Stress Disorder. Did you guys miss me? How about you Bayonne Met Fan, did you miss me?

Well shockingly enough, the Mets did not end up with any of the players I figured they would select in the first round on Monday. I never expected them to reach so far down to grab Brandon Nimmo who probably would have still been there with their second pick, Apparently, they loved Nimmo so much that they didn’t want to take a chance that he’d be gone by then, and you can’t fault them for sticking to their plan.

That said, Paul DePodesta must have been having a ball reading all these predictions about Jed Bradley and Taylor Jungmann and a host of other talents everyone had the Mets pegged for. Ha, ha, real funny DePo. He must be as good a poker player as new partner David Einhorn – nobody saw it coming.

So lets change subjects, shall we?

I know that I oftentimes never pass up an opportunity to to take a shot at our former GM Omar Minaya, but his record makes it so easy to make a joke at his expense, I find it too irresistible to pass on the opportunity.

But let me shock some of you Minaya enthusiasts that are still out there, and give you a half-hearted peace offering. The Matt Harvey selection from the 2010 First Year Player Draft is looking remarkably fantastic with every start the kid makes down in Port St. Lucie.

Quite frankly, I never expected this type of success. I wasn’t very impressed with his college numbers which were mostly mediocre at best, and after what we’ve had to endure with Mike Pelfrey, the thought of another sinker-baller irritated my stomach and bladder a great deal.

I happened across something worth reading in the NY Post of all places yesterday – not exactly where I usually go for intelligible reading. Dan Martin interviewed former Mets pitcher and current Cyclones pitching coach, Frank Viola, who had some impressive things to say about 22-year old Matt Harvey. 

“Harvey is the real deal,” said Viola. “He’s got tremendous upside. They just don’t want to rush him. He’s got poise, composure and he knows he’s good, but he doesn’t have a chip on his shoulders.”

I usually don’t put a lot of credence in what anyone has to say when they’re hyping prospects in their own organization, but given Viola’s knowledge of the game and the art of pitching especially, you can’t ignore a comment like that coming from him.

Viola, in fact is the last Mets pitcher to win 20 games, doing it back in 1990, 21 long years ago. How is that even possible? That’s probably a good argument for another post, but maybe in Matt Harvey, we may not have to wait that much longer to see a Met win 20 games again.

“The best thing about him is that he has a game-plan,” said Viola. Kids do not have a routine. They don’t follow through and repeat. He’s so far ahead of the curve in knowing what he needs to do to get where he is going.”

Typically, the kind of comments you usually get from Mets scouts and coaches are mostly “the kid has great stuff” or how hard they can throw, but Viola never mentioned Harvey’s repertoire or how good his pitches are.

Instead “Sweet Music” talked about poise, confidence, composure, a willingness to learn, having an understanding of what he’s doing out there, and having a game-plan. It’s been a long time since anyone has said all those things about any Mets pitcher. A very long time.

It made me take a second look at Matt Harvey and I gotta tell you, I’m loving what I see. Harvey is currently 6-2 with a 2.44 ERA for those of you put stock in wins and ERA, but a more in-depth look is far more intriguing and tells a better story. His BAA stands at .235 and he’s doing it with a 3.55 K/BB and a 10.83 SO/9. I hope those trends hold up.

The North Carolina product holds right-handed hitters to a .219 batting average and overall his WHIP comes in at 1.20 to go with a 3.01 FIP. He is most likely one of the top three pitchers in the FSL and through seven weeks, Harvey has already copped the Player of the Week award twice.

There is a lot to like here, and after an overdue promotion to Binghamton, we’ll know even more about what is probably now the best prospect in the Mets pipeline. He looks like someone that will get here fast and maybe a mid season call-up in 2012 wouldn’t be out of the question. Not based solely on “his stuff”, but because of all those other things Frank Viola referred to which are just as important when you consider a promotion for a top pitching prospect like this one. Hopefully, we can avoid another Mike Pelfrey type situation in the future. Usually, it takes more than just “stuff” for a pitcher to succeed in the majors.