The Keepers: Matt Harvey, A Light At The End Of The Tunnel

Matt Harvey gave Mets fans a glimpse of what may be to come in the future this past season

Yesterday, I was reminded about a feature I started after last season ended, entitled “The Keepers”. It’s just a few posts intended to highlight some of the bright up and coming players we have in our system. Enjoy! 

After spending just over a season and a half in the minors, and dominating at each level along the way, Mets prospect Matt Harvey got his chance and had a very impressive performance to begin his Major League career this past season. Harvey is the first of what many Mets fans hope is a long line of talented players coming from our farm system.

Harvey wowed fans, players, coaches, and especially Ron Darling with his “gamer” mentality. Darling compared Harvey’s repertoire to that of the late Darryl Kile. Darling also said “I don’t want to jinx him, but he’s got mechanics as good as Tom Seaver.”

Matt Harvey debuted with 11 strikeouts, breaking Tom Seaver’s record of eight punch-outs. That alone was impressive in and of itself, but what he would do over the next nine starts would get Mets fans even more excited as we saw the young righthander show his poise, command, and moxie.

I don’t want to get ahead of myself, obviously the kid still has a long way to go, but he was impressive enough during his rookie campaign to give us a shimmer of hope. Maybe, just maybe, these young Mets like himself, Ike Davis, Josh Edgin, Jon Niese and Ruben Tejada, do have the makings of a promising nucleus for a future run of championship caliber Mets baseball.

In ten starts over 59 innings, Harvey pitched to a 2.73 ERA with a record of 6-2. He gave up just 42 hits while striking out 70 batters and averaging 10.6 strikeouts per nine innings. Harvey’s one hiccup was his control which occasionally got away from him, walking 26, while also hitting three batters. What a season.

With Dickey now gone, where will Harvey slot into the rotation? Johan Santana will probably get the nod on opening day. Jon Niese is the next most likely and deserving candidate, but will the Mets go lefty-lefty at the top of their rotation? Right now Matt Harvey might have the best pure stuff on the Mets pitching staff. He should probably be slotted in at the number three or four spot, but there is a chance he could open as the Mets number two starter.

My prediction is that by seasons end, Matt Harvey will have the best overall season of any Mets starter. He is a power pitcher with an impressive arsenal that he can command, but let’s not underestimate that attack mentality, and his desire to be excel and be dominating.

Mets fans may not have much to look forward to in terms of contending for a championship in 2013, but they will get a very long look at some of the most promising cornerstones of the Mets future. Matt Harvey is one of those cornerstones. He’s a Keeper!