Here is Michael Baron’s Q&A with Mets prospect Matt Harvey:
Michael Baron: Last year, you dominated the Florida State League. After being promoted to Double-A, what were some of the challenges you faced, and the immediate adjustments which were necessary to make?
Matt Harvey: The biggest thing in the jump to Double-A was staying in my approach, and not trying to do much. Hitters are hitters; they’re trying to hit me and I’m trying to get them out. I can’t try and change that just because I was promoted. Early in the move, I got away from that, but it was a learning experience and I got more comfortable there as time went on. I really learned that no matter how many jumps I make, just to not change and go about my business the way I’ve always done.
Michael Baron: When you were promoted to Double-A, initially you struggled. But you were lights out towards the end of the season. Did you have to make any mechanical adjustments, or was it a matter of simply needing to execute better?
Matt Harvey: I just had to make things smoother – not to force things, and just letting things happen. Whether it was trying to throw a curveball for a strike, or keeping my change up down – it was a matter of trusting my stuff and doing everything I should have been doing. I really worked on that this winter – I smoothed everything else out, and trying to eliminate differences in my delivery between pitch types. That helped me tremendously.
Michael Baron: Who have you leaned on so far for some advice so far in the organization?
Matt Harvey: I caught up with Mike Nickeas in Atlanta this winter. He caught a few of my bullpens – it was such a help being able to ask him questions and get feedback from him on how I was throwing. It was awesome – I couldn’t thank him enough for what he did and all that he’s helped me with coming into my first big league camp. I give a lot of credit to him to help me know what to expect – it helped my confidence level.
Michael Baron: Were you given a set of goals by the organization this winter?
Matt Harvey: Just to work on location, and keeping my pitches down. As I progressed in Double-A, they had trouble hitting everything down.
Michael Baron: You appear to be a very focused pitcher and have a high level of concentration. How are you able to maintain that at such a high level?
Matt Harvey: I was fortunate enough to be able to block things out at an early age. I remember being able to do that as far back as Little League. I don’t know if that’s a gift, or if everyone is like that. I can have a good time with the guys, but when it’s time to pitch, I have an ability to block everything out. That’s the mental aspect of baseball. Once you get to the top level, there will be thousands and thousands of people screaming whatever they want, and you have to be prepared.
Michael Baron: Hopes are high in Flushing for you. Looking ahead realistically, what are your personal goals both in the short and long term?
Matt Harvey: My goal is to make the team, and I’m going to try and do everything I can to show I am ready, whether some people think so or not. I feel like I have to do that. I don’t ever want to think it’s not possible.
Michael Baron: Who do you think has the highest upside among those you’ve played with so far in the minor leagues?
Matt Harvey: I really like the way Matt Den Dekker plays. He’s just exciting. He’s the guy I started with in St. Lucie and went up to Double-A with. You kind of hope every once and a while someone will hit a long flyball so he will go and make a leaping a catch and run into the wall. There aren’t too many people who can do the stuff he does.