The release of the MLB.com pitching prospect rankings should have been a good day for the Mets, and their fans, to boast about their pitching depth. But you didn’t have to look any further than the number one spot to be reminded that the Mets are still playing second fiddle to the Washington Nationals.
The Nationals 20-year-old right-hander Lucas Giolito was named the top pitching prospect in all of major league baseball. Noah Syndergaard, 22, of the Mets followed him in the rankings. Both Syndergaard (6’6″ 240) and Giolito (6’6″ 255) have big frames and are known for their power arms. Syndergaard is expected to start the season in Triple-A and could be promoted to the big leagues as soon as 2015. Giolito has never pitched higher than A-ball and is expected to start the year in Double-A. Although their timetables are slightly different, they will undoubtedly be compared to one another upon their arrival to the major league level.
Much has been made of the Mets young pitching. This is supposed to be the year they start to lead the organization back into relevancy and play meaningful games into late September, and then hopefully October. Although I don’t question the potential in the Mets rotation, the Nationals signing of Max Scherzer not only solidified themselves as the team to beat this year, but for years to come.
Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Zack Wheeler, Jon Niese and Bartolo Colon is likely to be the Mets opening day rotation. I excluded Dillon Gee from this list because all signs point to him being traded in the near future. Minus Colon, this group is as young and talented as there is in the game. Harvey, before undergoing Tommy John Surgery, looked like a premier pitcher in the game. DeGrom was the 2014 NL Rookie of the Year. Wheeler has struggled with his command but showed his potential as a front-line starter in the second half of the season. Niese is a consistent lefty who provides stability. Colon will be the staffs innings eater who GM Sandy Alderson will likely look to trade come the All-Star break. Thus opening up a spot in the rotation for Syndergaard to make his debut sometime this summer.
Max Scherzer, Jordan Zimmerman, Stephen Strasburg, Doug Fister and Gio Gonzalez are projected to be the Nationals opening day rotation. That has the makings to be Atlanta Braves 1990’s good. In the event one of these starters is traded before the season, a more than formidable Tanner Roark will step right in. Giolito might be the top pitching prospect in the game, but the Nationals feel he is a year away. GM Mike Rizzo is well aware of what he has in Giolito and could be the reason why he would be okay with trading one of his soon to be free-agent starters. One hole that remains on the Nationals roster is their bullpen. Don’t be surprised if Giolito, assuming he continues to progress, is promoted to bolster the pen down the stretch. The more likely scenario would be Giolito joining the rotation in 2016 when a spot opens up due to trade or free agency.
There is no shame in having the second-best pitching prospect in baseball. These rankings are nothing more than someones personal opinion. And at the end of the day, the only thing that really matters is how these pitchers perform on the major league level. Despite many off-season rumors of teams asking for Syndergaard, the Mets were unwilling to part with him. They clearly view him as a big part of their future. Only time with tell if Syndergaard, along with the rest of the Mets young pitchers, will be able to out-duel the Nationals rotation in the years to come.
Stephen Strasburg has offered up some advice for the rehabbing Matt Harvey: Take it slow. Strasburg, was in Harvey’s same position just a few years ago. He took the league by storm upon his arrival in 2010, but it was short-lived by season ending surgery that cost him a full year. Strasburg’s situation is eerily similar to Harvey, whose domination was abruptly ended by an elbow injury last season.
Strasburg shared these words from his experiences “It can flip on you,’’ He said of the rehab process. “You’ll feel great one day and the next day it’s terrible. The best advice I got was, ‘Look where you were at the start of the month and then at the end of the month. Don’t look at where you were yesterday.’ ”
Harvey and Strasburg are each represented by super agent Scott Boras, Strasburg offered to help out the fellow Boras client if he needs it “I told Scott, if Matt ever needs anything, call me,’’ Strasburg said. “I’ve been through it. I know by judging how hard he works he should be, hopefully, fine.’’
Unfortunately, Harvey initially opted to rest his elbow in hopes of recovering the natural way. After a few months of deliberating and receiving some further medical opinions, he opted for Tommy John surgery in October. Despite Harvey’s mindset on returning in late 2014, that goal seems unlikely as the Mets will be cautious with their young ace.
In any case, I can’t wait to watch these two go head-to-head next season. I was fortunate enough to be at the game last year when a “Harvey’s better” chant broke out as he out-dueled Strasburg in Citi Field. Don’t remember? Here’s a reminder of how awesome that night was.
Matt Harvey dreamed of one day pitching in a Subway Series game, albeit as a Yankee, but nonetheless he will get his shot to do so tonight with the Mets. Harvey has taken the league by storm this year with his 5-0 record while posting a 1.93 era. He has had some exciting pitching match-ups early on against the likes of Roy Halladay, Jose Fernandez and Stephen Strasburg, but tonight all eyes will be on him as he prepares for his first career start against the Yankees.
Despite pitching for a team that is 10 games under .500, Harvey has grabbed national attention and is being regarded as one of, if not the best, young starting pitcher in all of baseball. He has quickly become the toast of the town making every 5th game must watch TV for Mets and baseball fans a like. Harvey has become a regular at Rangers games as he formed a close friendship with “King Henry” Lundqvist and made headlines with his newly formed relationship with Super-Model Anna Vyalitsyna. It has been quite a year so far, to say the least, for young Matt Harvey.
Tonight will be the first time Harvey throws a game in front of a packed out Citi field. The crowd will surely be split between the fan bases and conflicting cheers will be heard throughout the night as Harvey looks to silence Yankee fans. The Yankees aren’t putting out the star-studded line up that we have become accustomed to, but it is still the Subway Series which garner’s more attention than any other game the Mets will play this year. Harvey wants the spotlight and tonight he will be front and center as he looks to make a statement against the storied franchise tonight.
The Mets have dropped four straight games as they once again turn to their young ace, Matt Harvey, to stop the bleeding. So far the Mets are 5-0 in games that Harvey starts as opposed to 5-13 when anyone else takes the mound. Similarly to Steve Carlton’s 1972 season with the Phillies, Matt Harvey’s starts are quickly becoming known as “Win-Day” for this struggling team. Although I expect the Mets to win more than that clubs 59 games, it does have that same feeling.
This weekends series against the Phillies was downright awful, there’s no other way to put it. Watching these games made you feel as if the season was over already and it’s still April. Even this early in the season, each and every one of Harvey’s starts feels like a must win game for this team. There has been no other excitement and the team plays with a different level of energy in games that he starts. It is a lot to ask a 24-year-old in entering his first full season to be the stop-gap for losing streaks, but he seems to thrive on that “must win” mentality and wants the ball in these situations.
Whether the Mets wants to admit it or not, we are all aware that this is a rebuilding year. The best thing this team has going for them is Matt Harvey, we can only hope these starts coming during extended losing streaks will be good experience for him going forward. With the way this team has been playing as of late, Harvey could be seeing himself getting plenty of starts in these type of situations. He does not accept losing and clearly strives for greatness. This club may not be on that path just yet, but Harvey is.
Although this game will not have the same hype that the Strasburg match-up did, Harvey faces another young promising starter in Jose Fernandez. The Marlins have high hopes for the 20-year-old and tonight could be the first of many head-to-head match-ups for years to come. While I fully expect Harvey to continue his dominance against the lowly Marlins tonight, it is impossible to expect the Mets to win each and every one of his starts. If the Mets have any hopes of staying relevant this season they will need to improve their performance the four games in between Harvey’s starts, and fast.
Matt Harvey has made every fifth day for Mets and baseball fans alike, must watch TV. Harvey, has captivated this city with the start he is off too and is beginning to draw national attention as one of the best young pitchers in the game. When he takes the mound, there is a certain Buzz that surrounds his starts that in unlike anything I have ever experienced with this team.
In each of Harvey’s starts this season, he has dominated his opponents, going 3-0 with a 0.82 era with 25 strikeouts. He hasn’t just been the best pitcher on the Mets staff, he has been the best in all of baseball. He is the first pitcher since Bob Fellar, in 1947, to go 7 or more innings in each of his first three starts allowing 1 run or fewer with 25 strikeouts, not bad. Most recently, he took a no-hitter into the 7th inning against the twins where it was broken up by a Justin Morneau home run. He did go on to finish the 8 inning, allowing just two hits on the day.
The comparisons, which were bound to happen, have already been made to that of Tom Seaver and Dwight Gooden. Seaver turned around this franchise when he arrived in 1967, Gooden took the city by storm in 1984 with his sheer dominance. Both went on to win Rookie Of The Year awards, although Harvey may not be eligible for that award, he is certainly creating the same amount of excitement in his first full season just as those two once did. Similar to both of those former aces, Harvey arrives while this team is in transition, restocking with young talent in hopes of contending for years to come. Both the Mets championship teams in 1969 and 1986 were built around their starting pitching, with front line starts in Seaver and Gooden to anchor the load, which is what the Mets are hoping to have in Harvey. So far, he looks to be the ace of this staff and more already in his young career.
Former Cy Young winners, Doc Gooden and David Price took to twitter to express their feelings towards Harvey. It’s not just New York noticing what he is doing, the whole league is taking note. He was featured during this Sunday’s edition of Baseball Tonight, Curt Schilling went as far as to say Matt Harvey would be the pitcher he would most want to build a team around. High praise coming from all directions for this young man.
What impresses people most about Matt Harvey, isn’t his high 90’s fastball or his wicked slider, it’s his demeanor and attitude. He has insisted his goals on the season are to win 20 games and throw 200+ innings. In an interview with SNY’s Kevin Burkhardt during spring training, Burkhardt asked him what it was like to watch Tigers ace Justin Verlander, who was throwing against the Mets that day. His response, “He’s a lot like me.” Now, maybe I’m looking to far into those comments, but when he chose to say, he is a lot like me, rather than a lot like him, that to me means he has all the confidence in the world in his abilities.
Weather pending, he is in line to start on Friday against the Washington Nationals and their young stud, Stephen Strasburg. If that holds up, it could be the first of many match up’s between the young aces.