During an appearance on Mets Hot Stove this Monday night, the new Mets manager claims it’s time for Matt Harvey to be himself.
Just over two years ago Matt Harvey was fighting his way into pitching the ninth inning of Game 5 of the 2015 World Series, in 2018 he’ll be fighting for his career.
For Harvey, the Mets, and the fans, the Dark Knight persona that ran from his debut in 2012 to that cold October night at Citi Field represented hope.
Now approaching this winter, the hope amongst Harvey, the Mets, and Mets fans revolve around his career. The question that everybody wants answered, but can’t be answered is whether the Dark Knight will return to Gotham in 2018.
Mickey Callaway isn’t everyone though, and he has his answer, he doesn’t want the Dark Knight in 2018, he wants a new, improved, and remade Matt Harvey.
ICYMI: Mickey Callaway on Matt Harvey pic.twitter.com/f4DWy7gSrx
— SportsNet New York (@SNYtv) November 14, 2017
The most important part of Callaway’s answer in the above clip is his reference to accepting Harvey for who he is.
“He’s gotta be in a place where he’s accepted for who he is and not shunned for who he’s not being.”
Moving forward, Harvey’s not going to be the guy he was from 2012 to 2015, when his average fastball was sitting between 96 and 97 mph.
That’s because this season his average fastball velocity was 94.3, and his k/9 dropped down to a career-low 6.51.
Those numbers seem dismal for a guy who posted a 9.64 k/9 in his first full season, but they by no means put the nail in his career coffin.
As Callaway said when he was on Mets Hot Stove, there have been players who have been successful after losing their way before.
The example he used was Ubaldo Jimenez who was touching 100 mph with his fastball in his early career with Colorado.
When he made his way to the Indians in 2011, his average fastball was way down to an average of 93.5 mph.
However, by 2013 with the Indians, Jimenez was able to put together a strong year when he compiled a 3.30 ERA and a k/9 of 9.56, his highest ever career mark to this day.
All of that happened with a fastball that averaged less than 92 mph. Jimenez threw his fastball 53.8% of the time, another career low mark, and his slider 25% of the time, his highest career mark in the category.
This should not be a surprise for a pitcher under the tutelage of Callaway, who preaches using your best secondary pitch and not messing around in big situations with pitches that are less effective than your fastball and top breaking ball.
If Callaway can get Harvey to buy into his mentality, it might just lead to a rejuvenated career for the 28-year-old. In the end, it will all revolve around if Harvey tries to live up to superhero expectations, or just wants to be Matt Harvey.
If there’s anyone who knows how to aid this change it’s Mickey Callaway. Matt Harvey should be happy to have him in his corner.