New York Mets’ starter Matt Harvey has proven he can excel on the biggest stages. Now he looks for another big season, and some possible hardware.
In 2013, Harvey officially became a star pitcher during a breakthrough year and started the MLB All-Star game at Citi Field.
His season was cut short in late August when he had to get Tommy John surgery, but overall that year, he finished 9-5 with a 2.27 ERA and 191 strikeouts in 178.1 innings.
After missing the entire 2014 season due to Tommy John surgery, Harvey came back in 2015 and had a strong season, going 13-8 with a 2.71 ERA and 188 Ks in 189.1 innings.
His 2.71 ERA was the sixth-lowest in the National League, with at least a strikeout per inning. He also had 10 starts where he didn’t allow an earned run, and three others where he allowed only one.
— SportsNet New York (@SNYtv) February 26, 2016
That is very impressive for a guy who missed an entire season the year before, not to mention for someone coming back from Tommy John, which normally requires a lot of time—12 to 18 months—for a player to fully recover.
Harvey exceeded all expectations with his 2015 season. You don’t often see many pitchers just recovering from Tommy John, posting such great numbers immediately after the injury.
Even more impressive was Harvey’s solid postseason, en route to the Mets reaching the World Series for the first time since 2000. This, even after innings restrictions through September, and doubt about whether or not he would even pitch in the playoffs.
He was 2-0 with a 3.04 ERA, and 27 Ks in 26.2 innings overall in the playoffs. He had a dominant start vs the Chicago Cubs in Game 1 of the National League Championship Series, with 7 2/3 solid innings and only 2 runs.
Before running out of gas in the ninth inning of World Series Game 5, Harvey had shut down the eventual champion Kansas City Royals for eight innings with nine strikeouts.
These are among the reasons that lead me to believe Matt Harvey will definitely be a strong candidate for the National League Cy Young award.
An award I think he will win.
He already was a strong Cy Young candidate before, finishing fourth in the 2013 voting. And that was the year he lost a month to injury.
After a full season pitching in 2015, Harvey should come back even stronger this year. Even with a short winter following the Mets World Series run, Harvey still had a regular offseason, because he didn’t have to go through the final stages of rehabbing unlike years prior.
Harvey pitched in Spring Training last season, but since he just came back from surgery, the Mets exercised caution, placing innings-limits on him.
According to early reports from Port St. Lucie, Florida, Harvey looks even stronger, which would be an even scarier sight for opposing hitters.
— Baseball Tonight (@BBTN) February 26, 2016
Even with last season’s strong numbers, Harvey did struggle at times with velocity Harvey went through a June stretch when he gave up a lot of home runs as a result; A minor setback that’s normal for pitchers coming off surgery.
Don’t expect that same problem this year.
Along with his fastball and slider, Harvey developed a curveball last year, and coupled with his expected increased velocity, Harvey should be even tougher to hit this season.
Along with his great stuff, everyone knows how much motivation Harvey has in pitching well, and to win. None more evident than in Game 5 of the World Series when Harvey intensely pleaded with manager Terry Collins to let him finish the ninth inning.
It might have cost the Mets the win, ultimately leading to the Royals celebrating their World Series title in Citi Field, but it shows how much Harvey loves the big stage and everything that comes with it.
Last but not least, Harvey is a free agent after the 2018 season. To the likely chagrin of Mets’ fans, Harvey likely wants that mega-contract, whether in New York or elsewhere. If he has a Cy Young-like season, along with Scott Boras as his agent, dollar signs have already started jumping off the blank check.
With his great stuff, intensity and motivation, plus being more than a year removed from Tommy John surgery, Harvey has every tool he needs to be a Cy Young winner.