Michael Baron, ContributorIt’s hard for anyone to put together a better season than R.A. Dickey had last year, but Matt Harvey is certainly off to a good start towards doing so. They are two completely different pitchers at completely different stages in their careers, so it’s going to be difficult to draw any fair comparisons between the two.
Harvey has been fantastic and a lot of fun to watch, he’s creating a buzz around the team they haven’t seen since Dwight Gooden burst onto the scene nearly 30 years ago. The Mets could use a “feel good” story like this, especially with a player who is built-in to the their long-term plan, such as Harvey.
Like Dickey did last year, Harvey has created a high level of expectation for himself — given Harvey is only 13 starts into his career, that’s probably not fair. He’s become his own draw to the ballpark, and for the time being he is a must-see every five days. Can he win 20 games and win a Cy Young like Dickey did last year? We’re only a handful of games into the season, but he has been among the best pitchers in baseball in the first part of the year, and while I don’t expect he will have a sub 1.00 ERA all year, he is clearly capable of pitching at a very high level.
The most important takeaways from Harvey’s immediate success are his ability to remain focused and undistracted during games, and his quick ability to adjust from start-to-start. He’s also not afraid to come inside with his fastball, which is part of the commanding presence he is creating for himself on the mound. He has pitched like a polished veteran who is capable of not only winning every five days, but doing something special every five days as well. As long as this stuff is there and he has the command his fastball, slider, change-up and curveball the way he has in his first three starts, he’s just going to get better.
By the way, of the 181 four seam fastballs Matt Harvey has thrown in 2013, 85 of them have been swung and missed at. That’s an indication of how dominating he has been in his first three starts…