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How Fast Can Matt Harvey Rise?



By Mike Silva ~ April 23rd, 2011. Filed under: Mets Minors, Mike Silva.

You couldn’t ask for a better start from 2010 #1 draft pick Matt Harvey. After four starts in High-A St. Lucie he’s 4-0 with an ERA of zero. In 22 innings he’s given up 8 walks and struck out 27. Jim Callis of Baseball America said “Harvey’s fastball and slider can be plus-plus pitches and he can be devastating when he maintains his delivery and throws strikes, which he has done so thus far.” The scouting report we had last summer stated that Harvey is a power pitcher (96-97mph), and needed some work on his secondary pitches. He also struggled with his command. Scouts believed there are delivery issues that will need to be worked on during his minor league career. Thus far, all the concerns have been addressed in the affirmative. The question I have is how fast can Harvey rise through the system?

Going into this season most would say 2013 would be the earliest we would see Harvey in Queens. Four starts shouldn’t change this, but if he continues to show positive signs could we see him early next season? Would it be counterproductive to his development? Let’s look at some recent top picks and see how long they were in the minors. David Price, Tim Lincecum, Rick Porcello, Mike Pelfrey, and Max Scherzer were all recent picks that spent less than two seasons in the minors. In the case of Lincecum he threw only 62 innings of minor league baseball before the Giants called him up in May of 2007.

I fully expect Harvey to spend the second half of the season in Binghamton. I believe that will be the true test to how “fast” he could ascend to the big leagues. If he continues to show consistency with his delivery and solid command of his secondary pitches why not test him with a start or two at Buffalo? At that point the real debate begins since he could conceivable be competing for a rotation spot in spring training of 2012.

Detractors will point out how Mike Pelfrey had similar dominant stretch in the minors. The issue with Pelfrey was his mental makeup. Back in May of 2006 Omar Minaya said that “He’s (Pelfrey) got the physical size and talent, but it remains to be seen if he has the mental makeup at this point, whether he pitches with a plan.” That scouting report was prophetic since that is exactly what has been Pelfrey’s weakness at the big league level. Pelfrey’s secondary pitches were also not very polished when he made his debut in July of that season.

What a great jolt in the arm it would be for this franchise if they could enter 2012 with two high ceiling starters in their rotation. Jenrry Mejia, currently the top pitching prospect, has shown some positive signs thus far at Triple-A Buffalo (0.98 ERA in three starts). The presence of these two kids might allow Alderson to seriously consider packaging Mike Pelfrey in a trade before this year is out.

Should Harvey get big league times so quickly? If he appears ready I don’t see the harm in having him start in the big leagues and challenging him.  Of course, no innings limitations should be retarded during the process. The one concern I would have with a top prospect is current pitching coach Dan Warthen getting his hands on him. I am not sure he’s the right guy to lead this team’s staff into the future.

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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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1 Response to How Fast Can Matt Harvey Rise?

  1. Chakrabs

    Please don’t rush these young pitching prospects, Mike. Top pitching prospects are a rare enough commodity, especially in the Mets system. I’d much rather Mejia and Harvey spend ample time in the minors building up both their endurance and pitching repertoire before coming up to the majors. Honestly, one of the biggest knocks on the Mets has been promoting their prospects way too fast. Rushing Harvey is the wrong way to go.

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