Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer
It was just a Spring Training game, and against a depleted Miami Marlins, but I can’t stop thinking about how dominant Matt Harvey was yesterday. In particular, his change up looked so good for being so early in camp.
I don’t think yesterday necessarily indicates that Harvey will use his change-up more, though that could end up happening. I just think he’s finding a good command of it here in Spring Training and learning where and when it works best. In listening to how the coaching staff describes him, compared to other young pitchers, I like that he seems to attack each game as an individual project. His goal is to build up an arsenal so he has a strong and deep war-chest for every unique fight. Similarly, I like that he values health and fitness and stamina as one of his weapons.
“He’s on a mission to be real good,” Terry Collins said about Harvey yesterday, according to the Daily News. “You bring something up to him and he applies himself.”
He keeps saying his goal is to pitch 200 innings. I think he can do it. Frankly, I’m starting to think he can do anything he sets his mind to, mostly because I keep hearing how he has a plan for every goal. He doesn’t just spit out cliches, and then go back to doing the same thing or improvising. He speaks of specific goals, such as keeping his delivery in line, or working one way against lefties as opposed to another way against righties, and it all falls under the overall goal of being more effective and efficient… and he seems to have a specific plan for each item. I love that. I don’t know that it will ultimately matter, but it makes me trust in his development and future more than even Zack Wheeler, even though Wheeler probably has the higher ceiling.
My bet is Harvey never wins a Cy Young. However, once he learns to “command an inning,” and “pitch to contact,” he’ll string together several seasons of consistent, significant and meaningful results. 15 to 20 wins here, All Star appearance there, repeatedly falling short of the ultimate award, maybe never being his team’s “ace,” but always heralded by fans, recognized around the game and touted by his teammates. I think this is all possible for him, and I have never thought that about a Mets pitching prospect, including Scott Kazmir or Generation K.
More than anything, though, I love that Harvey and Wheeler are such obvious competitors, judging by how public they are about their goals. They put it out there and, so far, are making it happen.
I love pitching. If I have to choose, I’ll take a 1-0 pitcher’s duel any day over a slugfest. I’ll take an elite, dominant pitching staff over a devastating lineup, as well. The idea of having two, young, front-line pitchers who compete with one another for who is better, all while making the team better, is exciting to me. I really, really hope it all works out…