You’ve heard this New York Mets prediction here first. After kicking and screaming, Matt Harvey will settle in as the 8th inning setup man to Jeurys Familia. AJ Ramos will be traded by the deadline. It is my first bold prediction of the season.
Unfortunately, serious injuries have kept him sidelined and at 28, his velocity has slowed enough to alter his effectiveness. His upper 90s fastballs have become 91-92, making his fastball very hittable. However, I do predict he will become a successful setup man this season and beyond.
Harvey was almost traded this offseason, but it was Mickey Callaway and Dave Eiland who convinced Sandy Alderson to keep him. They felt that Harvey could become a great pitcher again with some adjustments. After pitching five scoreless innings in his first start, he has been rather ineffective. After giving up six runs in his last start, Callaway made the decision to remove Harvey from the rotation.
Harvey, whose ego hasn’t yet been humbled by his extremely poor numbers the last year and change, was not happy about the decision. He made it clear that he was a starting pitcher and that didn’t sit well with fans and the coaching staff. However, becoming a one inning pitcher can be the ticket to Harvey becoming the Dark Knight again.
Pitching one inning at a time can increase his velocity to the mid-90s again. Harvey also has very good control. Harvey’s problems haven’t been walks; hitters are just hitting flat pitches.
As Harvey’s relief value grows, another’s will sink. I foresee this leading to a possible AJ Ramos trade.
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He has quickly become the latest thorn in fans’ sides because the Mets have blown two games this week. Each started with Ramos walking multiple hitters.
The Mets will not attain much success if their bullpen doesn’t have better control. Walks will come back and haunt them, so Harvey can become the perfect replacement for Ramos.
If Harvey can overcome his ego and go out and attack hitters for one inning, he will be the perfect bridge to Familia. Who knows? Perhaps Familia could set up Harvey. Either way, Harvey can become a fan favorite again, increase his value, and save his career.
If Harvey rebuilds his confidence and helps the Mets toward the postseason, he could sign a nice free agent deal as a starter or reliever for 2019.
Ramos, however, is clearly not going to return in 2019 and will probably be traded by the deadline, if he has any value. He has simply not been the same pitcher who was a reliable Marlins closer for a number of seasons.
John Smoltz went from a high-caliber starter to a high-caliber closer. Wade Davis, who pitched under Dave Eiland, was also converted into a reliever, and now he’s one of the highest paid relievers in the game.
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At his current pace, a minor league deal is all Harvey could receive next year. With Scott Boras as his agent, it is in Harvey’s best interest to build up his confidence and his value. That way, he can become the 8th inning setup man the Mets need.