Matt Harvey’s offseason focus: regaining his command

By JT. Teran
MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 18: Matt Harvey
MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 18: Matt Harvey /

This offseason, Matt Harvey won’t be worrying about rehabbing after a surgery, but can instead just focus on improving his pitching.

And that’s going to be a huge part of whether he can have a bounce-back season in 2018. After all, this year was not only the worst of his career, but one of the worst in Mets’ franchise history for starters.

There wasn’t much, if anything, to take from the 2017 season. Harvey never looked like he was fully comfortable on the mound since the beginning of the season. After going down with a shoulder impingement in mid-June, things just got worse.

Yes, it’s true, his fastball velocity was way down, but his biggest issue was command. That was a theme throughout the season, even after he was able to get back into the mid-90s with his heater.

Harvey’s agent, Scott Boras, recently referred to this issue when he spoke to the New York Post’s Joel Sherman. According to Boras, Harvey will be focusing heavily on the command of his pitches this winter.

The former Dark Knight will go through “a substantial throwing program,” Boras outlined. “The idea is to have a lot of reps to get his fastball command back and get his release point down.”

As Sherman notes, for Harvey, his command and release point both pretty much evaporated after he came back this season following TOS surgery. The Mets, Harvey, and Boras all hope that the fact that he’s currently healthy and will presumably remain that way through the offseason will let the right-hander take as much time as needed to hone in on his command.

Harvey doesn’t have to blow people away with 98 mph stuff, but the fact that he did once means he’ll have to make that mental adjustment going forward. Those days of just letting loose are long gone. He has to use his fastball on the edges, and know that a mistake over the zone – unlike in 2013, or 2015 – will be punished.

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This season being Harvey’s last year of arbitration will mean he’s going to try to be as best as he possibly can be. The difference between being on point or not could spell the loss of a lot of money next offseason.