By Rich Coutinho
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Matt Harvey is a young and talented player. He is still learning how to pitch and, more importantly, getting a feel for the way he needs to pitch to succeed at the major league level. The Mets plan on giving him the ball every fifth day win, lose or draw. It is great for him to experience all of this and it’s essential for those watching him to look at his whole report card at the end of the season. And even at that point, we must all remember he is a developing pitcher who will experience some high moments and some not-so-high moments.
Harvey has great stuff and the mental make-up you want to see from a young hurler both on and off the field. But he is still fine-tuning his craft and because of that he will encounter speed bumps in his journey between now and the end of the season. One of the things he will learn from Sunday’s start is the over-use of the changeup, especially at the start of the game, is something he needs to stay away from. His fastball is 94-96 mph and he needs to show that at the start of the game and that will make the changeup that much more effective.
He also needs to throw his curve ball more, even if he thinks his command of that pitch is not where it should be. The misconception in pitching is every hitter hits every mistake. That is simply not true. I see a plethora of hanging curve balls missed by major league hitters simply because their eye level was changed with a pitch. But all this will come with time and the experience of getting to know the hitters. I think it is great that Harvey is charting experiences in a notebook and his interaction with both R.A. Dickey and Johan Santana will help him in the “intellectual part of the game” that those two hurlers use to their advantage while they are on the mound.
My point here is let this kid take it all in and get a taste of what the major league life is all about, minus the pressure, because in the coming years, he will be pitching in pressurized games. Take this opportunity to let Matt Harvey evolve into those situations. This will also benefit him in the off-season as after a few months in the majors, he can focus on his areas of development at this level, which will prepare him to get to spring training ready to compete for a job that he knows he can do. He still has to “earn” his spot but the newness of being on this staff will not be something he has to be concerned about and he can focus on being the best he can be every single day.
Matt Harvey will be a big part of the Mets for many years to come and I totally understand the excitement of seeing him pitch. I encourage every Met fan to enjoy watching him perform, but understand he still needs to develop as a professional. I fully believe both Harvey and Wheeler to be part of the “core group” that will lead the Mets out of the wilderness, but we all have to exercise the necessary patience waiting for that to happen.
Is Matt Harvey being overanalyzed? Sound off in the comments section below…