COMMENTARY | For an organization that refuses to fully acknowledge that they're in rebuilding mode, the New York Mets made a pretty indicative move by trading ace R.A. Dickey this past off-season. Dickey, who won the Cy Young award in 2012 behind a 2.73 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, and 4.26 K/BB over 233 and 2/3 innings, was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays on December 17, 2012 for a package of top minor league prospects. But considering the next best Mets pitcher in 2012 was Jonathon Niese (3.40 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, and 3.16 K/BB), Mets fans were rightfully worried how the team could possibly fill Dickey's production void in 2013.
However, 3 starts into this season, it is evident that Matt Harvey will not only be the Mets ace in 2013, but also, for many years to come. The 24 year-old has posted a 0.82 ERA, 0.54 WHIP, 4.17 K/BB, and 3 Wins so far, striking out 25 batters in just 22 innings. Unlike how the Mets tend to over-handle Niese, it appears as though Harvey will be used as a workhorse. The right-handed pitcher has averaged 7-plus innings per start, including an 8-inning performance against the Minnesota Twins on April 13.
But Matt Harvey hasn't just pitched well; he's been absolutely dominant. The pitcher's .116 BABIP (Batting Average on Balls in Play) and 94.3% LOB% (Left on Base Percentage), if maintained, would top any starting pitcher's rates from 2012-including Justin Verlander. Harvey has also only surrendered 6 hits to-date--2 of which being extra base hits--and even flirted with a pair of no-hitters already.
The young hurler's success stems from a four-pitch repertoire, featuring a fastball that averages 94.2 MPH, and tops out at around 96-97 MPH. Harvey has kept batters off-balance with a devastating 86.2 MPH change-up and 81.4 MPH curveball. And as you can see from this NotGraph's GIF, the stud's slider is unhittable too.
Unlike a lot of talented young athletes, it is apparent that Harvey isn't letting his success go to his head. The pitcher exhibits veteran composure on the mound, and with the exception of Justin Morneau's at-bat on April 13, tends to listen to everything his catcher, John Buck, tells him to throw.
There is no doubt that Matt Harvey is the Mets' best homegrown pitcher since Dwight Gooden, but with such a good head on his shoulders--and a blazing fastball--Harvey could very well be the organization's new Tom Seaver.
Ben Berkon is a freelance sports, humor, and tech writer/blogger from New York City. Berkon's work has been featured on The Huffington Post, The Onion, Contently, Medium, and Rising Apple, and he also manages The Beanball and Blah Blah Berkon, his personal stat-heavy baseball and humor blogs, respectively. He's [unfortunately] been a Mets follower his entire life.
Follow him at @BenBerkon.
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