While the New York Mets possess a few ace arms, Matt Harvey remains the the pitcher that means the most to the team’s possible success.

Fans of the New York Mets have heard the same narrative over and over again — the team in Queens has the best rotation in baseball if, and only if, they can all stay healthy.

Well, to date, that just simply hasn’t happened — a fact Mets fans are equally aware of.

But if one starter can stay in good shape for a full season, along with a somewhat majority of the rest of the team’s arms keeping pace, the Mets may well be back on their way to replicating their deep postseason run of 2015.

And that man is Matt Harvey.

The “Dark Knight” had his best start of the spring yesterday, throwing six two-run innings that included five hits allowed, one walk and four strikeouts. What really should have team brass excited the most, though, was that Harvey touched 97 mph during his work against the Atlanta Braves.

Now while his promising start only lowered his spring ERA to a still unsightly 5.89, Mets manager Terry Collins has been very publicly impressed with Harvey’s pitch accuracy and exceptional use of his offspeed stuff, including his slider and changeup. If he can keep gaining arm strength back as he showcased he is yesterday, along with his already solid offspeed work, the Mets may have their 2015 Cy Young candidate back for 2017.

The biggest knock against Harvey repeating another stellar comeback from a major injury is that this is already the second such situation of his short four-plus year major league career. But it can’t be forgotten that although thoracic outlet syndrome and the necessary procedure to remove one of Harvey’s ribs is quite traumatizing for one’s body to go through, it can’t be any worse for a pitcher than the career-ender itself, Tommy John Surgery.

Before delving any further into his injury bugs, let’s take a look back on the Dark Knight’s numbers from 2015 — the season that followed his TJ surgery.

29 starts, 13-8 record, 2.71 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 189.1 innings pitched, 37 walks/188 strikeouts

That season, Harvey’s pre-surgery velocity totally returned no more than a month into the season, and he remained sharp as ever all season long. But that year, Harvey brought more to the table than just statistics and a top-five finish for National League Cy Young.

He was the lifeblood and energy of the Metropolitans all season long, including the postseason. Harvey treated — and still treats — every start as if it were the biggest game of his entire life. He goes all in every start, every inning, every count and every pitch, with no questions asked.

Jun 17, 2016; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Matt Harvey (33) pitches against the Atlanta Braves during the third inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Although this bravado ultimately caused the Mets to lose Game 5 of the World Series against the Kansas City Royals that year, as Harvey pleaded with Collins to leave him in to finish off a complete game — a decision that led to two earned runs — that mentality is what puts Harvey in the upper echelon of major league pitching when he’s at his best.

The Mets’ records during Harvey’s years in the majors show how much he can mean to his squad.

In 2014 — the season Harvey was out due to Tommy John — the Mets had a 79-83 record, while only scoring 11 more runs than they allowed as a team. That season included Lucas Duda‘s 30 homer campaign and Travis d’Arnaud‘s best year yet, all while still having Bartolo Colon, Jacob deGrom, Zack Wheeler and the 3.40 ERA southpaw arm of Jon Niese in the rotation.

Fast forward to Harvey’s fantastic 2015 season, and the Mets go 90-72 and make it to the World Series.

Obviously that can’t all be attributed to Harvey, as the Mets added the likes of Yoenis Cespedes, Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz to their MLB squad between those two years.

But as was said earlier, the attitude that Harvey creates and spreads around the entire 25-man roster is infectious and it helps keep the competitiveness of the team at an all-time high.

If the Dark Knight can keep himself in Gotham again, expect great things from the 2017 Mets.

21 COMMENTS

    • Lasagna? Is that what your mom is making you for dinner tonight?

      Listen, you have every right to disagree with whatever you’d like, but to call the writer “uneducated” and a “moron” just makes YOU look bad. I mean, why do you hurt yourself like that? Why do you stain your Disqus account like this? That Disqus account in which you call people names from the co.fort of your mom’s basement.

      If you’re gonna comment on this site, you better BRING IT. What you just did was the exact opposite of brining it. You called somebody names like a 12 year old which only made you look terrible.

      Also, three comments? From the looks of it, you’re a professional Disqus commentator. That’s embarrassing man, three comments…looking like a mad man who can’t control his emotions.

      Bring it better than this next time.

    • You’re not understanding the article at all, clearly. Who cares if 2013 was Harvey’s best season? Not even Clayton Kershaw himself could carry a team starting John Buck, Omar Quintanilla and Ike Davis to the postseason. I think I make it pretty obvious — albeit not to you — that in 2017, with finally some help surrounding Harvey, the first man to become a part of this exciting rotation the Mets currently have, he and his health is, at the same time, the most questionable but rewarding need that the team requires for a deep postseason run. No doubt that Syndergaard and deGrom have overtaken him with their recent work, but if they can get a healthy Harvey with them, that’s what will push them over the hump.

    • I never ONCE said that Harvey is the most important player to this year’s Mets squad, because he isn’t. But throwing a good season from him in with everything else the team has is what COULD — as the headline and third paragraph blatantly says — carry the Mets to a championship run.