After going 13-5 between St. Lucie and Binghamton last year, Matt Harvey was having trouble adjusting to life at Triple-A in Buffalo. The 2010 first-round pick came into his start against the Syracuse Chiefs with not exactly a sparkling 7.62 ERA and an opponent batting average of .357. However, he bounced back from his April 15th start, where he only lasted 3.2 innings and gave up six runs.
New York’s #2 pitching prospect (behind Zack Wheeler, of course) had his best outing of the year; he threw six innings, giving up three runs, four hits, three walks, and one hit batter, while striking out 10 hitters. This was the second time that Harvey went head-to-head with Nationals super prospect Bryce Harper, and he once again got the best of him, fanning him twice en route to his first win in Triple-A. For a pitcher who had a tough spring and started 2012 off on the wrong foot, it was important for him to get a good outing like this under his belt. He now has the confidence that he can perform at the Triple-A level, and he can now continue his development.
Since Harvey has gotten so much attention over the past two years, we forget that this is only his second professional season after being drafted in 2010. As a pitcher, he still has a lot to learn and plenty of room to grow before he is seasoned enough for MLB action. The 23-year-old credited his bullpen sessions during the week for his success against the Syracuse Chiefs last night. He kept his fastball down in the zone and worked his pitches from corner to corner, which kept the hitters off balance most of the night. Not to be forgotten, Harvey also contributed at the plate by 2-3 with an RBI. Maybe he can give some hitting tips to Mike Pelfrey?
It’s great to see Harvey put together a good performance and Wheeler compile a 2.40 ERA in three starts in Binghamton because these two pitchers are the future of the Mets starting rotation. We’ve been talking about how the New York lineup is virtually homegrown, but in a couple years, the starting staff might be entirely from the farm system. They’re already 60% there with Mike Pelfrey, Jonathon Niese, and Dillon Gee. If Pelfrey pitches well enough to stick around and the contracts of Dickey and Santana aren’t renewed when they expire, we could see our entire starting staff coming from within. That’s nuts.
For now, Harvey still have plenty of learning and growing to do in Triple-A this year, but this outing is a good stepping stone to taking his performance to the next level.