Matt Harvey wants to be the best, Zack Wheeler wants to be the best

Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer

In a report for the Daily News, Matt Harvey talks with Peter Botte about the Mets starting rotation, learning from R.A. Dickey, his rookie season, and being a competitive team in 2013.

“I feel like we absolutely can do something this year,” Harvey told the Daily News before throwing a brief bullpen session Monday at Citi Field. “That’s why we all play the game. … as players, we’re not looking at this as rebuilding for next year or the year after. It’s now, it’s this year, and we feel like we can win and we’re going to do everything we can to play into October.”

Frankly, I expect nothing less than this quote from Harvey, and I bet he truly believes what he’s saying too.

Matt Harvey pinstripes polaroidThe Mets talked SO glowingly about Harvey last season, it started feeling redundant and a bit overdone. Of course, Terry Collins was being asked the same questions about Harvey night after night, so what was he supposed to say? Because, the reality is, Harvey is good and we all know it. He has the physical talent, obviously. But, what impressed me most, and what has me most excited for his future, and what probably inspires the Mets to go overboard when speaking about him, is his work ethic and focus. It’s impressive. He has a maturity, poise, consistent attitude and professionalism that I expect to be a difference maker for him.

In regards to his physical talent, he still needs to keep working at walking less batters. And, he’s going to hit a bump in the road or two during his first full season in the big leagues, because it happens to most pitchers. Because of these two hurdles, I don’t expect him to replicate his 10 starts from 2012 over 30 starts in 2013. Instead, I’m expecting a 4.00 ERA (maybe a bit more, maybe a bit less), I expect to see a good number of strike outs and around 180 innings pitched. The difference in his season will be the walks, though. It’ll be the difference between a 3.5o and a 4.50 ERA, I bet.

In either case, I think he’s a mid-rotation guy (with ups and downs) in 2013 … on his way to being a consistent, top-of-the-rotation workhorse for many, many years to come. I’m excited to watch his future, alongside Zack Wheeler and Jon Niese.

“It’s fun to think that you possibly can have a starting rotation similar to what the Braves had with Maddux, Glavine and Smoltz,” Harvey told Botte. “That’s what we’re going to strive for, too. (Wheeler) wants to be the best, I want to be the best, and so does every other guy that’s dressing in this clubhouse.”

To read more from Harvey, check out Botte’s report for the Daily News.