Rising Apple Player of the Week: Matt Harvey

By Matt Musico

The Rising Apple staff chooses one player to highlight on our site for their outstanding or unique performance for the last week. If you have a nomination on who should be crowned as the Rising Apple Player of the Week, please let us know! You can leave us a comment, tweet us, or make a comment on Facebook.

I’m happy to say this is the first Player of the Week article I’m able to write after watching some regular season games! It was a tight vote between Matt Harvey and John Buck, but the young pitcher wins out, as he’s already earned this honor for the second time from Rising Apple this season. It’s not hard to point out the reasons why Harvey eventually came out on top in our ballots, but let’s recap his line from the win against San Diego yesterday:

Mar 18, 2013; Jupiter, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Matt Harvey (33) throws in the first inning during a spring training game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

7 innings pitched, no runs, 1 hit, 2 walks, and 10 strikeouts

It was clear to see that the New London, Connecticut native was completely in control throughout the entire, frigid night at Citi Field. He was hoping to get his first home win in his fifth career start in front of the Flushing faithful, and made it look incredibly easy. His command of the strike zone was impressive, as 63 of his 94 pitches went over the plate. I provided my opinion in Wednesday night’s game recap, but it looked like his fastball had a little extra life on it once it reached the hitter. Danny Abriano also provided his first-hand observations of the young hurler living up to all of the lofty expectations that have been set for him.

Again, this is a small sample size to go by, but after his solid 10-start audition last season, he’s being relied upon heavily to be a big part of this rotation. Now that Johan Santana is lost for the year and it’s yet to be determined how long Shaun Marcum will be sidelined, his performance is magnified even more. A lot of professional athletes relish having the spotlight on them when it’s time to perform, but the confidence and attitude Harvey brings to his game takes things to another level.

He recently said he likes these huge expectations to live up to, and earlier in the winter he was asked on Twitter what his expectations were for the season, to which he responded with “200 healthy innings and a World Series trophy to bring back to New York.” People probably thought he was crazy for saying something like that while looking at the current Mets roster, but these are the types of players this team needs to break through and eventually compete with organizations like the Nationals and the Braves in the National League East. I’m glad he’s on our side, as he could soon form a viable one-two punch with Jonathon Niese this season if he keeps going at his current rate.

Congratulations on a stellar season debut and your second Rising Apple Player of the Week award, Mr. Harvey. I very much look forward to seeing you take the mound again in a few days.

Also, I have to give a shout out to John Buck; in his first 12 at-bats as a Met, he’s put together a .500/.538/1.000 line, with 2 home runs and five RBI. That’s also pretty awesome.

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