Quick Hits: Matt Harvey Speaks of High Expectations

By Matt Musico

In an article written by Peter Botte of the NY Daily News, we once again see the drive and determination of young Mets right-hander, Matt Harvey. The pride of New London, Connecticut is coming into 2013 with a lot of confidence, and he should be after impressing many during his 10 Big League starts last season. Harvey went 3-5 with a 2.73 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, and 70 strikeouts in 59.1 innings pitched.

Like David Wright, Harvey plans on heading to Port St. Lucie early to get a headstart before the official report date for pitchers and catchers, as he’ll be flying south on February 4th. The young starter talked about a few things in Botte’s article, as he said both him and top prospect Zack Wheeler strive to be the best, and he feels the Mets have enough pitching to play in October as soon as this season, even after losing 2012 NL Cy Young winner, R.A. Dickey. What does Harvey mean when he says he wants to be the best? This is what he’s referring to:

Sep 19, 2012; Flushing, NY,USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Matt Harvey (33) pitches during the first inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

"“It’s fun to think that you possibly can have a starting rotation similar to  what the Braves had with (Greg) Maddux, (Tom) Glavine and (John) Smoltz. That’s what we’re going to strive for, too. (Wheeler) wants to be the best, I  want to be the best, and so does every other guy that’s dressing in this  clubhouse.”"

That’s certainly a tall order for a couple of pitchers to be thinking about in their early 20s, but as a fan, it’s music to my ears. Since the day we saw Harvey strike out 11 Diamondback hitters during his July 26th MLB debut, he’s shown maturity and poise on the mound, never accepting less than perfection from himself. In a game of failure, that can wear on a player, but it’s clear to see that Harvey uses it as positive motivation to keep competing with himself to perform better than his previous start.

What I enjoyed most about this article is that Harvey said he feels the Mets can compete this year, and as athletes, they don’t view years such as this for New York as a “rebuilding” year. Whether it’s a rebuilding year or not, this is exactly the kind of fight Terry Collins wants in every single one of his players as they get set to enter battle.

Regardless of what the front office thinks about the organizational strategy for this year and beyond, the Mets players know fans are starving to see some consistent and competitive baseball, and they’re just as starved to provide it. Although some of the comments made by Harvey are a bit of a stretch right now (i.e. referring themselves to the 1990s Braves rotation), that’s the mindset every professional athlete needs. If they’re not confident, they will very rarely succeed.

A perfect example is from the book and movie, Moneyball. When Billy Beane was coming up through the Mets system, he continually questioned himself as to whether or not he had what it took to be a Big Leaguer. On the other hand, Lenny Dykstra (his roommate), was so confident in his own abilities, he was sure there was no ballplayer in baseball that would block his way to The Show. How did it turn out for the both of them? Beane had a .219/.246/.296 line during parts of six years in the Majors (301 ABs), while Dykstra hit .285/.375/.419 in 12 years and 4,559 ABs, and was a key player in the Mets winning the 1986 Wold Series.

Confidence in this game is incredibly important, as well as maturity and poise. For right now, it looks like New York’s two best pitching prospects since Generation K have all the ingredients for success at the MLB level.

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