Yes his name is Matt Harvey, but don’t tell that to the Mets. I mean there must be more to the starter who has excited Mets fan and given them restrained hope for the future. As the press release above correctly states, the Mets selected Harvey as the seventh overall pick in the 2010 first-year player draft. Harvey was the highest draft pick the Mets’ have had since 2004, in which they selected Phillip Humber No. 3 overall.
He is the reward for a miserable year that featured a 40-year-old Gary Sheffield’s carcass patrolling LF (a slight improvement over Jason Bay), Omir Santos as the everyday catcher, and Livan Hernandez and Tim Redding making the most starts in the rotation. That means that Matt Harvey is the Mets’ primary compensation for going 70-92 in 2009. Can one pitcher make up for such an excruciatingly bad year?
So far, yes. Since 2009 the Mets have progressed from mediocre to sub-par. They’re on the verge of becoming average, and possibly, a couple of years away from contention. Harvey is a key cog in all that: He’s the only Mets’ starter who can wow you with his pitches. He’s a power arm, with a durable build; a build Mets fans are hoping can carry this team into relevance.
Matt Harvey was born in New London, Connecticut on March 27th, 1989. He attended Fitch Senior High School in Connecticut, and as a senior Harvey had a sensational year, finishing with a 0.64 ERA and tallying 112 Ks over 54-and-a-third innings pitched. Harvey was named the Connecticut player of the year by Gatorade, and was considered one of the top high school pitchers in the draft along with Jarrod Parker, Madison Bumgarner, and Phillipe Aumont. He fell to the Los Angeles Angels in the third round (118th overall) due to signability concerns, and declined to sign for a $1,000,000 bonus. According to a LA Times article, his father Ed called it “the major disappointment of his life, at that point, not signing out of high school.”
Harvey spurned the Angels to accept a scholarship to the University of North Carolina. After an unspectacular year as a freshman, Harvey was dreadful his sophomore year. While his electric fastball didn’t lose any of its speed, he lost all control of it and finished with a 5.40 ERA.
While his issues were purely mechanical, scouts wondered if Harvey could stay as a starting pitcher. They felt he could be a shutdown reliever, but not a guy who you would starting every fifth day. Harvey corrected his flaws between his sophomore and junior campaigns, ultimately ending up with the ninth most strikeouts, and tenth most wins in Tarheel history. He finished his junior year with the Tarheels with a 3.09 ERA, 102 Ks, and 35 BBs in 96 innings of work.
His control came back and he was once again considered one of the top arms in a draft class featuring pitchers Jameson Taillon, Drew Pomeranz, and Chris Sale. While phenom Bryce Harper went first overall, Harvey was the fourth pitcher to come off the board and was considered an overdraft by the Mets.
He’s been anything but since, and he’s been a sparkplug to a fading franchise. Needing only a year-and-a-half in the minors before making the big leagues, Harvey looks like he’s here to stay. Harvey also possess a competitive attitude that borders on being a little too much. After his first career loss to the Giants in which he gave up two runs over 6+ innings he said he expects to go out and put 0s on the board, and anything less is a failure in his eyes.
He’s a Met with a not-so-Met attitude. Met fans just hope an unstoppable force of a winning attitude does beat the immovable object known as Mets futility.