Tag: matt harvey

Will Wheeler, Familia, and Harvey Repeat History?

NOTE: this is a guest post by Jimmy Prinzler. Enjoy.

The Mets’ top three pitching prospects at this time are Zack Wheeler, Jeurys Familia, and Matt Harvey. Assuming they remain with the organization, what will they bring to the Mets?

My best guess is that all three will pitch together in the 2013 rotation — unless Wheeler surprises us all early by arriving in Flushing in late 2012. Regardless, once they arrive, what do those hurlers bring to the table?

It’s pretty obvious that they will strike out many hitters. In the minors, Wheeler posted 124 Ks in 113 IP, splitting his time in advanced “A” ball in San Jose and Port St. Lucie; Familia had 128 Ks in 119 IP in Port St. Lucie and AA Binghamton; and Harvey struck out 154 in 132 2/3 IP between Port St. Lucie and Binghamton. All told, that’s 406 strikeouts in just 364 2/3rd IP — or, 1.1 Ks per inning. In comparison, Stephen Strasburg dominated in the minors with a 10.6 K/9 in his first year of minor league ball, which translated to 12.2 K/9 at the MLB level with the Nationals last year — why can’t the Mets’ three future aces deliver similar numbers?

Looking at the big picture, there is another benefit to one strikeout per inning — it means the defense needs to procure only two outs each frame, which may reduce errors. Ergo, having these kinds of strikeout pitchers could make this team more solid on defense. Bases loaded with one out? No problem — the pitcher strikes out one and the defense gets the third out on a ball in play. (OK, that’s only a theory, and it would be great if it really worked out that way, but you get the idea.)

I know a lot of Mets fans are eager to see three pitchers from the farm come up together and I believe it’ll happen. The 2013 Mets rotation could consist of Harvey, Wheeler, Familia, Dillon Gee and Jonathon Niese (not to mention, if he gets healthy, Jenrry Mejia could sneak in as well). Historically, the championship Mets teams were built around good young pitchers from within their farm system — maybe history is about to repeat itself.


Holt and Harvey Remind Mets Fans To Be Patient

Brad Holt was known as a flamethrower out of UNC-Wilmington. When the Mets drafted him in 2008, all the scouting reports said: fastball 93-96, secondary pitches coming, back-end starter. But as ESPN’s Keith Law put it in a 2008 scouting report, Holt is nothing more than a “setup man”.

Holt teased Mets fans immediately after he was drafted. After overpowering the New York Penn League, Holt started 2009 in St. Lucie, showing promise, but a mid-season promotion ultimately derailed Holt from stardom. Since being promoted to Double-A Binghamton, Holt’s combined earned run average has been 7.19.

His blazing fastball is still there, but without control. Dubbed a strikeout machine out of college, Holt has a 1:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio this season in Binghamton — nothing to write home about. Fans can say, “but opponents are hitting .219 off of him!” Of course they are, but walks don’t account for opponents’ averages.

As of June 16, following two starts in which Holt surrendered more than 5 earned runs in 3 innings, he was moved to the bullpen. There, he has seen limited action, and has walked more than 2 batters on three occasions.

Were the Mets too aggressive?

Now the Mets have another issue. 2010 first-round pick Matt Harvey is struggling after a mid-season promotion to AA Binghamton. Granted, he’s only made three starts, but it suggests that the Mets were wise for being conservative with their prized arm. What if Harvey had been called up in May after dominating the first month of pro ball? Would he turn out to be the next Brad Holt? Or maybe the next Mike Pelfrey — whose inconsistency has been blamed by many for being rushed as well?

Harvey’s next scheduled start is going to be more important than the stat line; it will be a mental test. For those planning to attend or listen, Harvey needs to locate his pitches better. After a promising second start (5 IP, 5 H, 5 K, 2 R), his most recent start was awful: 3 IP, 7 ER, 6 H, 2 HR, 1 BB, 5 K His next start will show whether he can bounce back and make the adjustments necessary to compete at the AA level. Part of that is physical, but part of it is also mental.

And that’s what separates the men from the boys: baseball is a mental game. Two months ago, I met the former Chicago Cubs scout who signed Kerry Wood. While we were browsing through the Barnes and Noble baseball section, what he told me that day was nothing new: Mike Pelfrey is a head case and should be traded immediately.

The scout also told me that if Pelfrey were in any city other than New York, he’d be dominating. The scout made perfect sense. Pelfrey hits the mid-90s occasionally during his starts, but why not consistently? A top selection in a draft should not be losing velocity like Pelfrey has.

Mets fans saw the period of the mouthpiece Pelfrey used to sport, to help control his nerves. We also saw the time when Pelfrey looked like a lost puppy on the mound. What happened to Pelfrey’s power arm?  It was there in his major league debut — I remember when I was watching in a third-base luxury box!

With interesting arms in Harvey, Darin Gorski, Jeurys Familia, and recently signed compensation pick Michael Fulmer, the Mets should remain slow with their pitching crop. It’s the first time in a long time that the Mets have rebuilt their farm system, slowly but surely gaining the respect of the prospect gurus.

Since the Mets drafted pitcher-heavy this year, Brad Holt serves as a reminder that anything can happen. One week you may appear on the Baseball America Hot Sheet, the next week, you’re a reliever with nothing but the 7th inning to look forward to.


All About Matt Harvey

The Mets promoted heralded prospect Matt Harvey to Binghamton a few days ago, though his first AA start was inauspicious. Still, he has a bright future ahead of him, and depending on how he transitions to AA, that future could be coming sooner rather than later.

That said, read this quick profile of Harvey — written by Josh Burton — so you can familiarize yourself with Matt Harvey.

The 7th pick in the 2010 MLB draft out of the University of North Carolina, Matt Harvey was


Analysis: Matt Harvey

With the 7th overall selection in the draft, the Mets chose Mystic, CT resident, Scott Boras client, and North Carolina Tar Heel Matt Harvey.

Was it a good pick? Who knows? There have been some comparisons to Mike Pelfrey, which I don’t get — at least, not based on the video I’ve seen.

Generally, it’s difficult to analyze a player on video alone. But, I didn’t have the opportunity to trek down to Chapel Hill this spring to see Harvey in person (strangely, Rudy Terrasas did not invite me to his cross-check — go figure). So my amateur analysis will have to be based on two youTube videos.

First, this video from May 2009, which you may have seen a few days ago here:

This video scares me. What I see is a kid who is simply throwing — and using his arm almost exclusively to put mustard on the ball. He is standing straight up throughout the delivery, and not taking advantage of his tall (6’4″) frame and all the benefits of leverage, gravity, and stride length that could come with it. All the pressure is on his shoulder and arm speed, coupled with upper body rotation, but little if any power from the lower body.

Now, a more recent video from this past May — and almost exactly a year to the day after the previous video:

In this video it appears as though he made some slight adjustments to his motion — namely, it looks like he made a conscious effort to try to incorporate his lower body a bit and also use his height (what Nolan Ryan calls “tall and fall”). He bends over a bit more at release and in the follow through, which is a start, but it doesn’t look like he’s really using his legs to drive off the mound. On some pitches, he over-rotates a bit, resulting in a follow-through that reminds me somewhat of John Maine — whereby his head is tilted and body moving toward first base. But that’s only occasionally; most of the time he seems to be getting his momentum going toward home plate.

Bottom line is that Harvey has an electric arm — a god-given ability to make his hand and arm move faster than most mortals in propelling a baseball. Generally that’s all a scout cares about, but as a pitching coach / instructor, my concern is using the entire body to not only help with velociy but also with the deceleration of the arm. If Harvey were my student, I’d work on him extending the stride and collapsing the front knee to transfer some of the stress of acceleration and deceleration from the upper body to the lower body; as it is now he usually “cuts off” the follow-through, which puts considerable strain on the shoulder.

It is possible to “fix” this issue and improve his mechanics — especially since he appears to already be working toward a more efficient delivery. This kind of a power arm is rare, so it’s understandable why the Mets drafted him. With the right guidance, he could develop into a seriously nasty flamethrower some day.