Ever since Mike Pelfrey got DL’d for the season in early-April, there has been a big hole in the back-end of the Mets rotation. To-date, the Mets have used a combination of Chris Schwinden (11.25 ERA, 2.00 WHIP, and 0.33 K/BB in 2 GS) and Miguel Batista (4.00 ERA, 1.55 WHIP, and 1.43 K/BB in 4 GS)–neither of whom ran with the gig. And now with Batista headed to the disabled list, the Mets plan to use Jeremy Hefner, a 26 year-old rookie, as the fifth man.
Considering Hefner has looked solid in his 8 big league innings (2.25 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, and 5.00 K/BB) and at Triple-A (2.72 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, and 3.13 K/BB in 46.3 IP/7 GS), perhaps the Mets will find a cheap, homegrown solve. But even if Hefner does do well, one has to wonder when Matt Harvey will get his chance in the show.
Harvey is considered to be the second best prospect in the Mets farm system (behind Zack Wheeler), but is certainly the most Major League ready one. The 23 year-old has been solid so far in his first bout with Triple-A, posting a 4.31 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, and 2.33 K/BB. His stats aren’t exactly dominating, but the talent is obviously there. Aside from sporting a more indicative 3.68 FIP, Harvey also has three good pitches (fastball, change-up, and curve). As Toby Hyde noted in his Bisons game recap on Saturday, Harvey needs to do a better job of mixing in his pitches (especially his change-up). Essentially, Harvey has the weapons to get hitters out, but he still needs to learn how to properly use them. This is something that is best learned in Triple-A; not in a rushed Major League situation.
Fans should certainly hope that Hefner can lock down the fifth starter role so that Harvey can continue to mature into the ace he could eventually become. However, on that same token, if Hefner follows suit in Schwinden and Batista’s mediocrity, how much longer can the Mets–who are three games over .500–really wait to restore some stability to their rotation?