This piece, by BP’s Jeffrey Paternostro, first appeared at the Baseball Prospectus main site and is available free for all to enjoy. We’ve posted a sneak preview here.
Forget all that you know and all you have heard.
Specifically, forget any talk of shutdowns and innings limits, ignore any hastily thrown together PR rehab, pretend you don’t know about his Tommy John surgery or his agent, and push off any conversations about trade rumors or 2018 free agencies.
To be blunt: for now, forget about all the bullshit.
Matt Harvey has thrown 427 innings in his professional career. He has posted a 2.53 ERA, a 2.65 FIP, and a 2.94 DRA. He has struck out 26.6 percent of the batters he’s faced and walked 5.6 percent. Across his career, he has been as good as any pitcher in baseball not named Clayton Kershaw. Matt Harvey is an ace.
Matt Harvey also pitches for the Mets, so thus far he has had limited opportunities to demonstrate that in meaningful games or on a big stage. He started the 2013 All-Star Game at Citi Field. That was nice. It was also an exhibition. You probably don’t remember what his line in the box score looked like. You may remember how he pitched against the Nationals the Tuesday after Labor Day. It was his first start after all that stuff you were supposed to forget about happened. The Mets lead over Washington had been cut to four heading into that series. New York won a crazy one on Labor Day, giving Harvey the opportunity to deliver a staggering blow to the Nats division chances. It was clear he didn’t have it early on, getting touched up for three runs in the first two innings before getting chased from Nationals Park afterYoenis Cespedes played a one- or two-run single into a Little League grand slam. That never made it into any leads though, because the Mets won an even crazier one.
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Lead photo courtesy Anthony Gruppuso—USA Today Sports.