Matt Harvey and Team Italy will be advancing to the next round of the World Baseball Classic. The former New York Mets pitcher has been anything but a clinger-on in their journey.
Harvey pitched three shutout innings in his first start for Team Italy. He added four more innings on Sunday, allowing only one run in this victory. Team Italy, led by Mike Piazza, might not have the most stacked roster in the WBC but it has, as Anthony DiComo points out, one of the most intriguing stories with Harvey dominating on its roster.
Former Mets pitcher Matt Harvey has found success without velocity
Harvey spent all of last season in the minors for the Baltimore Orioles. He made 13 starts and in those 70.1 innings had an 8-1 record with a 3.71 ERA. The Orioles have been kind to him over the last two years. They gave him 28 chances to start for the team in 2021 without much success. In that most recent season of his with some big league innings, Harvey was just 6-14 with a 6.27 ERA.
The competition in the World Baseball Classic is a mix of the top professionals in the world and others trying to climb the mountain Harvey once stood upon. The drop in velocity is certainly concerning. However, it’s hard to argue with the success.
For a few years it seemed like Harvey’s best way to get back into the MLB picture was to accept a bullpen role. Some short yet successful outings in the WBC shouldn’t change this perception. It’s hard to imagine if the 2022 Orioles never felt the need to have him start for them that too many other clubs would allow him to do so. Throwing hard might be something we typically associate with a relief pitcher. Not everyone needs to average 95 mph to have success.
The longer Team Italy can stay in the WBC, the better chance Harvey has of getting a contract. He’s currently a free agent but someone Mets fans will want to watch carefully. He may not be a fit to return to Queens at the moment. Now 33 with his next before coming up at the end of the month, could he fit the mold of the once-dominant starter who evolves into something else?
One thing is certain, Mets fans are rooting for him to return to the majors in some form—just as long as it’s not with the Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies, or New York Yankees.