Matt Harvey Set Unreal Expectations: Give Pitchers a Chance

New York Mets v Philadelphia Phillies

On July 26th, 2012, Mets fans were anticipating the debut of a skilled minor league prospect by the name of Matt Harvey. That day in Arizona, Harvey threw 5.1 innings, allowed three hits, no runs and struck out 11 Diamondbacks.

As it turns out, his gem in the desert was not a fluke but rather a sign of things to come. Once his rookie campaign was done, the former first round pick had a 2.73 ERA, struck out 10.6 batters and allowed 6.4 hits per nine innings.

Harvey is now a fan favorite in Queens. His dazzling 2.39 ERA through his first two major league seasons gave him credibility as an ace in the league. To add to the hype, he even started his first All-Star game last year.

While Harvey is recovering from Tommy John surgery, the baseball world is watching other Mets top pitching prospects such as Zack Wheeler, Jacob deGrom and Rafael Montero. Wheeler and deGrom maintain a spot in the Mets starting rotation while Montero is currently in Las Vegas (AAA) after a rough start in the majors.

However, despite being in their blue and orange uniforms daily, Wheeler and deGrom have also had their struggles.

Going into mid-June, Wheeler’s 4.19 ERA is almost a full point higher than his 3.42 of last year. In five of his 13 starts, Wheeler has allowed four runs, but the biggest problem has been his high pitch count. He has failed to pitch 7 full innings in any of his starts this year.

deGrom’s first three starts were “Harvey-esque” as he possessed a terrific 1.83 ERA. However, his last two starts have not been as successful. Despite the Mets picking up the win against Philadelphia, the former 9th round pick allowed three runs in his start at Citizens Bank Park. Then, in his next outing, he had his worst start allowing four runs in just five innings.

The Mets pride themselves on growing an impressive group of dominant minor league pitchers in the minors. Now that these pitchers are moving on up to the majors, a lot of fans are expecting immediate results. This is in part due to the expectations set by Harvey. But that’s not how it normally works, what Harvey did was the exception not the rule. Let these pitchers take their time to work out all of their flaws and mistakes so that hopefully, by the time the Mets are a playoff team, these pitchers will be major contributors.

(Photo credit: Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

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