First-year Mets manager Mickey Callaway made some positive comments regarding Matt Harvey‘s 2018 outlook.
Matt Harvey has experienced some of the highest highs, and lowest lows over the last few years of his Mets career. That’ll happen to you when you’ve pitched a gem in Game 5 of the 2015 World Series and then follow it up by pitching to a 6.70 ERA, an organization all-time high, during the 2017 season.
So why and how does Mickey Callaway believe Harvey could have a successful rebound come 2018?
Here’s what Callaway had to say about Harvey, courtesy of MLB.com’s Jon Morosi.
“He’s in a really good spot, mentally,” Callaway said. “I think sometimes people overlook that the surgery he had [to address thoracic outlet syndrome in 2016] usually takes 18 months to recover from. I watched video of his starts from the end of last season, and his stuff was great. He just didn’t have the feel.
“When your feel goes away, your confidence goes away, too. I think that was the root of the struggles he had in the last year and a half. He didn’t know if he could throw the ball where he wanted to. But in the video we just saw of him [this offseason], he’s dotting the glove. He’s locating again, and I know he’s really excited.”
As stated by Callaway, it is easy to overlook the fact that Harvey endured a very serious shoulder operation that has varied recovery rates and performance. Watching him in 2017, there was always the sense that his pitches still had movement and velocity, but his command was out of whack.
Let’s take a look at some videos to clarify these sentiments by Callaway. First, we will start with the mental aspect of this tough stretch for Harvey.
After a brutal outing against the Miami Marlins, Harvey’s morale in this postgame was at an all-time low. Never before have I seen an athlete so blunt, negative, and disheveled in a postgame interview.
If Callaway’s statement that Harvey is in a good mental state is true, that’s the first step to a positive outlook and return in 2018.
Moving on to the actual pitching aspect, was Harvey’s stuff really there last year as Callaway claims?
When examining this pitch, start with how he located it. With two strikes, Harvey spins a beautiful slider that starts over the plate and ends out of Albert Almora‘s reach out of the strike zone.
There isn’t much Almora could have done with that pitch, even if he managed to get his bat on the ball. That’s the type of pitch Harvey used to make routinely when he was up 0-2 in an at-bat.
Also, take a minute to slow down the video and watch the movement of the pitch. Almora thinks he has it squared up and the ball just spins away from his bat.
This is vintage Matt Harvey and that slider made it look like he had turned back the clock. That pitch gives credence to the idea that Harvey still has his stuff, just not the command to go with it.
At the end of the day, we’ll have to wait until April to really make a judgment on if Harvey can make a return to form.
But for now, it seems that Callaway’s comments really do make sense in regards to an improved Harvey in 2018.