In a must-read report for ESPN New York, Teddy Mitrosilis — a former college teammate of Matt Harvey — says while there have been high expectations for Harvey throughout his career, those expectations are everything he desires.
In addition Mitrosilis says Harvey has always wanted to live and play in New York, as the energy of the city intoxicated Harvey and provides a symbol of big league life.
However, Harvey’s trail to professional ball hasn’t come without it’s hiccups, as he was disappointed to fall to the third round of the 2007 first-year player draft and pitched to a 5.40 ERA with 42 walks in 75 innings during his sophomore season in college.
“All I wanted was to play in the big leagues,” Harvey said. “I put so much pressure on myself to get there. I didn’t look around, and I didn’t want to look around. I didn’t even care if I had any friends.”
According to Mitrosilis, Harvey had bulked up the prior winter, leading to a lack of flexibility and his mechanics being altered.
“It’s a little tough to explain,” Harvey said about his sophomore year. “Everything just got completely out of whack.”
However, that summer, Mitrosilis said Harvey worked with his dad in bullpen sessions and got back to the basics with his delivery, and the following season posted an 8-3 record with 102 strikeouts in 96 innings in his junior year.
Upon being drafted Mitrosilis says Harvey didn’t like the adjustments he had to make as a professionial, such as developing secondary pitches and focusing on refining the command of them. But when Harvey was finally called up last July, Mitrosilis says Harvey was relieved he didn’t have to go through that process anymore.
“I was hoping he’d get his feet wet and understand what it would be like to be a major league pitcher,” Dan Warthen said about Harvey’s stint in the majors last year. “He more than exceeded our expectations.”
Harvey says he wouldn’t trade the adversity he’s faced in his journey to the big leagues for anything.
Michael Baron, ContributorSince he was drafted, the qualities which have remained constant have been this tremendous focus and concentration on pitching and evolving into a “winning player.” I first learned about Harvey’s intensity when I met his uncle in St. Lucie two summers ago. He said on game days, Harvey’s concentration can’t be broken, and he wouldn’t even talk to his family so he could prepare and concentrate on his job and winning. I have to believe that concentration and determination have helped him persevere, adjust, and be a continuously-evolving baseball talent and personality. He’s a perfectionist — he studies and critiques himself on a seemingly pitch-by-pitch basis and accepts nothing less than winning at the highest level possible. His drive, focus, and determination can only enhance his physical talent, as it can help create an intimidating mound presence for years to come.
For more on Harvey, check out ESPN New York.