In today’s New York Post, Kevin Kernan provides some intriguing quotes from Matt Harvey…
- Harvey told Kernan that his goal is 20 wins. Terry Collins suggested that Harvey could win 17 games, but the young hurler has a goal that’s a bit higher:
I’d like to add three to that. That’s where my head is always going to be at — 20-plus is what I’m going to strive for every year…mediocre is not OK for me, it’s never been OK, and it will never be OK. That’s how I play, that’s how I was raised…I look at [Justin] Verlander, 250 innings, but I don’t control that. I didn’t control last year’s inning limits, and I don’t control this year’s. I’m prepared to go as long as I can, and I pushed my body this offseason so I can approach 200-plus innings.
- Harvey goes on to note that he couldn’t care less about the outside expectations that have been set for the team:
We don’t look at it as two years from now, three years from now, like everybody’s been saying. We’re here to win now, and we’re going to do everything we can with what we have to win. Every time I take the ball, it’s go time.
…Minor League expert John Sickels defines a number one starter as a pitcher who has two plus pitches, an average third pitch, plus command, and plus makeup. Sickels goes on to note that true number one starters “anchor” a rotation, often make the All-Star game, and are threats to win the Cy Young award each year.
At the moment, Harvey has three of the four “number one starter” attributes Sickels outlines. His fastball and slider are both plus pitches, and his changeup and curve are average with the potential to improve. His makeup is off the charts, both in terms of how he handles himself on the mound and off the mound. The only thing Harvey is lacking right now is plus command.
Now, it’s difficult to project what Harvey will be, and a little unfair to place sky high expectations on him after such a small sample size. There’s just something about him that screams that he’s special. If you followed Harvey in the minor leagues last season, you’d know that he improved when he reached the major leagues. That’s rare. Most observers are of the belief that Harvey intentionally saved his best bullets for when he reached the Mets.
When Harvey is on the mound, he’s fearless. He works quickly, utilizes all four of his pitches, and isn’t afraid to throw inside. When he’s not on the mound, he conducts himself like he’s been in the league for over a decade. After only a few months in the big leagues, Harvey is already confident enough to state that his goal is 20 wins. I don’t recall ever hearing such a statement from any of the pitchers the Mets have developed over the last 10 or 15 years. Harvey is also comfortable enough to attack the naysayers on behalf of the entire team.
What Harvey has is rare. It’s unclear exactly what that will translate to as his career moves forward. When you watch him pitch or listen to him speak, though, it’s evident that the pieces are in place. He just needs to put it all together.