Matt Harvey’s early strikeout numbers are a big source of joy, but should they also cause concern?

Kevin Kaduk
Big League Stew

Matt Harvey's stuff was so good over 60 innings in 2012 that it caused one of his New York Mets teammates to break out an instant comparison to Stephen Strasburg.

No one said Jonathon Niese was crazy then because Harvey's numbers over his extended cameo did look quite similar to the ones posted by the Washington ace.

Now, two starts into the 2013 season, Harvey is making his rotation mate look even smarter. The 24-year-old righthander struck out nine batters and gave up only one run in a 7-2 win over the Philadelphia Phillies during Monday night's series opener at Citizens Bank Park. In doing so, Harvey bested Roy Halladay in a game that exhibited the different trajectories that each pitcher is taking right now.

Combine Monday night with a 10-strikeout win against the San Diego Padres on April 3 and you can see why Harvey is making Mets fans everywhere salivate over his future. He owns a 0.64 ERA, has struck out 19 batters while walking only four and owns one of the most GIFable sliders in the majors. For the first time in a while, it's possible to write "it's a good time to be a fan of the Mets" without a sidelong smirk being implied.

Of course, because we are talking about the Mets, that means a backhanded compliment can never be that far behind. And in the case of Harvey, it arrived via Tim Marchman, who tweeted the link to the following table from Baseball Reference with the message "Give a Mets fan a heart attack, send them this link."

That sound you heard was a collective gasp of horror coming from Citi Field:

As you can see, Harvey's K/9 rate ranks up there with history's best multi-season runs of pitchers 24 years old or younger. As you can also see, his company is made up of guys who boast a litany of arm trouble and steep declines. It's almost enough to make one call Dr. James Andrews and set up an appointment for Harvey ahead of time.

That's the pessimistic view of course, but it'll be interesting to see how the Mets treat Harvey going forward. He threw 93 pitches in his first outing and 107 on Monday night, but caution might be the name of the game going forward. He's pitched so well in his first 73 innings that you want the Mets to do the best they can to make sure we'll be seeing a lot more of Harvey.

Should the Mets give Matt Harvey the Stephen Strasburg kid gloves treatment?

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