The New York Mets received another glimpse today of the improvement of right-hander Matt Harvey. All the young pitcher accomplished was 4.1 innings pitched, five strikeouts and no hits in a Grapefruit League game against the Miami Marlins in Port St. Lucie.
The only base-runner allowed was caused by a fielding error by shortstop Omar Quintanilla in the third inning. In all other aspects, this is what the Mets were hoping to see throughout spring training. It’s not just the fastballs, which were consistently in the low to mid-90s. It’s not even about the low pitch count. And it certainly is not just about the fact that he lasted into the fifth inning.
Harvey is showing the progression of selecting his pitches, commanding them effectively, then executing over the course of a game. We all know that this is the Marlins, however, and spring training. Now we wait and see if this progression can last throughout the course of a MLB season.
Harvey’s demeanor and work ethic have been duly noted since his call-up from the minors last season, and his bulldog mentality is a welcome sign in the Mets clubhouse. He is the type of pitcher that never quits and absolutely refuses to lose. Some liken him to the second coming of Tom Seaver. While Harvey is a few years removed from that distinction for me, I understand where those people are coming from.
Manager Terry Collins can only hope that the fire spread from Harvey will translate to every player on the team. With Johan Santana on the shelf for the time being and Shaun Marcum slowly working his way through the spring, another couple of outings like today and Harvey might very well find himself as the number two starter behind Jonathan Niese.
If that happens, then I am sure Harvey would relish in the role and succeed. One thing about Harvey is that above all else, he is major league ready. Come summertime, that is all you can ever ask from a young pitcher.
“Rant” your opinions in the comments section below on Harvey’s start today against the Marlins, and his bright future with the Mets.