Archive for the ‘Matt Harvey’ Category

MLB: New York Mets at Arizona Diamondbacks

There is nothing glamorous about rehab. Coming back from Tommy John surgery is an arduous, painful, agonizing process. Players who make that journey describe the isolation from the world they know – convivial flights, meals, and general bro-ings on – as the worst part. Worse than the surgeon’s scalpel and worse than the slow process of teaching an old ligament new tricks.

It isn’t difficult to understand why Matt Harvey wants to spend as little time as possible in Port St. Lucie, Florida in 2014. By virtue of its location in Florida, it is automatically disqualified from a “places you want to be for more than a few days” list.

Matt Harvey is unlike most baseball players. Most of his New York Met teammates make their homes on Long Island, closer to the Flushing, NY, home of New York’s second team. Harvey was well-known for his preference to stay in Manhattan, embracing the role as “swaggering New York superstar” and/or “frat god” that his unbelievable performance affords him.

Now on the mend from a blown UCL, Matt Harvey is pushing back against the Mets stated preference for him to stay at the minor league complex for the duration of his rehab stint. A whole year in Florida? I don’t think that suits Matt Harvey one bit.

Of all the things to make a big deal about, this issue seems like the most inconsequential. “Young star gently pushes back against team wishes, tabloids spill ink.” But there is a greater point at play here. If, as the CBA dictates, a team can only require players spend 20 days at the Spring Training complex without the player’s consent, then Matt Harvey isn’t really doing anything wrong. His recent comments show the 2013 Cy Young shoo-in is keenly aware of the sensitive nature of his request.

“After talking with my agent and the Players’ Association and going over the CBA rules, as a player you have rights,” Harvey recently said. “I want to do what’s best for the organization and best for the rehab process. For me, I’ve made it clear where I stand.

“I think everybody knows I want to be with the team and be with the guys. New York is my home. I love being there. I love showing up to the ballpark every day. If I have that opportunity, then that’s where I’d like to be.”

There is an element of employee satisfaction at play here. Making players feel valued and that their opinions matter is probably a decent strategy, no? Not every player is as magnanimous as David Wright and happy to sign away their peak years to a club stuck in the middle of a long ice age between periods of competitiveness.

If the Mets cling to their belief that the distractions of big city life will slow the progress of Harvey…are they not paying attention? Harvey, who would return to PSL when he is ready for game action, repeatedly states a desire to pitch this season, less than one calendar year after his Tommy John. That’s crazy, and hardly consistent with a guy who would blow off his rehab commitments in exchange for late nights at the 40/40.

It might run counter to about 50 years of Mets tradition, but working with players and making them comfortable and accountable is not a bad strategy. Giving the athlete the benefit of the doubt as far as what they can do to better prepare their bodies is something other players tend to notice. Cautious as the Mets might be in allowing Harvey favors that Dillon Gee just isn’t going to get, there is an element of degrees here. Matt Harvey is one of the most dynamic Mets pitchers since Dwight Gooden. Keeping him happy and healthy (and out of pinstripes) should be goal #1.

So long as Matt Harvey makes it back to the mound at Citi Bank Ballpark, fans don’t care where he does his rehab. I assume the Mets feel the same. If Matt Harvey believes sleeping in his own bed and spending time with his teammates will facilitate better healing, who is to object. Understandable as the Mets’ need to control this situation might be, staying on the same page as their ace is just good business.

matt harvey marlins park

Matt Harvey doesn’t throw harder than every other pitcher in baseball, though it is pretty close. Matt Harvey doesn’t have the best stuff of any pitcher in baseball, thought it is pretty close. Matt Harvey doesn’t have the lowest walk rate of any pitcher in baseball, but it is pretty close.

Many pitchers have big time velocity. Many pitchers have terrific control, others have great command. It is possible to have one without the other – pitchers who are able to hit the strikezone with regularity but don’t hit their spot quite as often, resulting in hard hit balls and stuff that doesn’t show up in a raw strikeout-to-walk ratio.

In a single at bat today, Matt Harvey demonstrated the value of all three – working together to against one of baseball’s most dangerous hitters.

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Helicopters - awesome!

Helicopters – awesome!

I was once like you, alternating between feelings of indifference and hostility towards baseball’s All Star Game. The hollow “this time it counts” conceit grated and the diluted pool of talent was a turn-off. I lamented the game for what it wasn’t and longed for it to be what it was when I was young – or at least how I falsely remembered it.

All of which were mistakes on my part.

The All Star game isn’t perfect but, if you just give it room to breathe and be what it is, it can be a good time and a fun annual tradition. Fun? Perish the thought!

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New York Mets v Minnesota Twins

During the long, cold off-season, a tiny morsel of info leaked out from the Orioles front office. Turns out some tall foreheads in the O’s analytics department pounded their keyboards to the bone to learn that there is a “magic number” as it relates to winning ball games: 39 batters faced. If, when pitching at home, a team can keep the total plate appearances of their opponents under 39, they stand a great chance to win.

In the interests of due diligence, let’s check in on this phenomenon as we near the end of May. Does the 38 batters faced threshold still make the difference between winning and losing? Spoiler: of course it does!

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Now we know for sure that Matt Harvey has arrived…in 1988, when the print edition of Sports Illustrated dominated the sports media landscape!

But seriously, it’s pretty cool that Matt Harvey gets the full Verducci treatment here. Hit the jump for a good sized image of the man at work.

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Um, 12 strikeouts, no walks, one infield single over nine innings? Welp. Maybe those Mets fans chanting “Harvey’s better!” as Stephen Strasburg were on to something.

It only took 105 pitches to retire 27 of the 28 White Sox set before him on this fateful night in Flushing. Harvey carried a perfect game into the seventh inning, retiring the first 20 batters he faced before Alex Rios legged out an infield single. That would be all the White Sox would get against Harvey, who induced 16 swinging strikes and eight ground balls en route to posting a 97 game score on the ChiSox.

Matt Harvey, making his case for his own semi-religious celebration ala Stramas. Hell, I think Harvey Day might already be on that level. The Elias Sports Bureau, via ESPN Stats & Info, reports Matt Harvey is the first big league starter in 100 years to strikeout out 125 batters while allowing 25 or fewer runs across their first 17 starts.

Does that sound like a bunch of random nonsense? Of course. The takeaway: Matt Harvey is really good. Now you’re up to date.

New York Mets v Minnesota Twins

We are excited about Matt Harvey.

In the eighth inning against the Twins on Saturday, Matt Harvey faced Chris Parmelee with one out and nobody on. The sequence went like this: 95 MPH fastball (strike looking), 95 MPH fastball (strike swinging), 96 MPH fastball (fouled back), 84 MPH curveball (ball, high), 96 MPH fastball (fouled back). And finally:

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