New York Mets starting pitcher Matt Harvey has seen his velocity drop in Spring Training which is a major cause for concern.
When Matt Harvey returned to the mound this spring, many New York Mets fans were hoping they would get a glimpse of their larger than life pitcher who earned the monikerThe Dark Knight. With Opening Day right around the corner, the player many people felt would be another
With Opening Day right around the corner, the player many people felt would be another ace in New York’s loaded starting rotation has instead looked more like a mortal than superhero this spring.
Instead, Harvey has looked at best like an average pitcher. Spring Training has not been kind to the Dark Knight, who has gone 0-4 with a 7.30 ERA. It hasn’t helped that Harvey has surrendered the most hits of any Mets pitcher and has surrendered ten earned runs this spring.
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Some people may dismiss these stats as irrelevant because it is Spring Training and Harvey is coming back from a major injury. These stats only scratch the surface of the two big problems with Harvey; control and velocity.
Harvey has struggled with the control of his secondary pitches all spring, but the most concerning issue is his fastball. While his velocity was severely down last season due to thoracic outlet syndrome that ended Harvey’s season early, he still averaged a fastball velocity of 94.5 MPH according Fangraphs.
This spring, Harvey has sat in the 92 to 93 MPH range and the lack of a fastball has made it hard for Harvey to dominate and attack hitters like he used to. It’s never good when a pitcher that could be an ace of your staff is putting up numbers and performing like a fifth starter in a rotation.
Realistically, the Mets and their fans have to realize that 2017 is a key year for the Dark Knight. This will either be the year where he builds back toward being the dominant front end starter for 2018 or learn he will have to learn how to pitch with diminished stuff.
While the Mets would love Harvey to regain his form at some point this season, they will be happy with whatever they can get after a disastrous 2016. If Harvey can make thirty starts and be a serviceable starter in the middle of the rotation, that would still be huge for a team with World Series aspirations.