In a detailed report for MLB.com, Adam Rosenbloom talks with David Wright, Terry Collins and Paul DePodesta about Matt Harvey.
“He’s got an inner confidence about him that you don’t see from a lot of younger players,” Wright told Rosenbloom. “In Spring Training, he was not wide-eyed. There was no awe. He works incredibly hard. He’s relatively quiet, but he gets along with everybody. I think it’s a great mix of that confidence — not a cockiness, but a confidence — and also a feeling that he knows he belongs.”
Harvey was shut down for the season in mid-September after accumulating 169 innings pitches between Triple-A and in the big leagues. He threw 135 total innings the year before in the minors, which was his first professional season.
Harvey told Rosenbloom that he understood the organization’s decision, though he’s on record as saying he would have been more than happy to continue pitching.
Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer
It was the right call, since the goal is to ease these kids in to being able to throw 200 innings in a season. Harvey’s already close to that, and he’s pn a good pace it seems. This is being done all across the league, with Stephen Strasburg being the most notorious case.
DePodesta says every case is different, and that it’s not a fixed policy. But, based on what the team did with Harvey, it’s probably fair to assume Zack Wheeler will not be allowed to throw more than around 170 innings next season. In that scenario, figuring he starts the year in Triple-A, if he gets promoted to the Mets mid-season, say mid-summer, which is totally realistic, he too will likely get shut down in mid- to late-September next season, just like Harvey.
It’s such a frustrating situation, as I’m Nationals fans can attest to. On one hand, old timers will tell you, ‘If you want guys to be durable and able to throw lots of innings, they need to throw.’ The Braves and Leo Mazzone were legendary for forcing guys to throw, throw and throw as much as possible during each year of development, not just on the mound, but long-tossing and more. The idea being: The more you throw, the more you can throw. Nolan Ryan believes in that model as well, which he and the Rangers have benefited from the last few seasons. The flip side, however, is what we see taking over most teams (including the Mets) which is the ease-in model. The idea being: Go slow, step by step, and work up to 200 innings in a season.
Personally, I’m fine with how the Mets and most teams are handling this. I mean, guys like Harvey and Wheeler are going to need time to work on pitches in the minor leagues. So, if there is some science suggesting it’s best and most safe and productive to easy in to 200 innings, that’s fine by me. The real problem occurs with a guy like Jennry Mejia, who has been hurt, and so (when you combine the pitch counts with time on the disabled list) despite being in the farm system for six season and still hasn’t spent enough time on the mound to learn and evolve as pitcher. Those cases are rare, though. Overall, while it’s not perfect, I think teams are mostly doing it right and hopefully they tweak and adjust for the better as they learn more about what works and what doesn’t.