By Rich Coutinho
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When scouts talk about Matt Harvey, they use the term “A Stuff” to describe what he brings to the table. But talent alone does not always get you to the big leagues — you must be dedicated and have the drive to be better every day. And Matt Harvey has that.
Terry Collins puts it best when he remembers the first time he met Matt Harvey. “I will never forget it”, says the Met manager, “because we were standing on one of the backfields and he asked me what he needed to do to get on the main field. And there was a look in his eye that clearly illustrated he would get there.” So after talking to Collins, I decided to go watch his bullpen session especially after I witnessed it last year. 12 months ago, I could see the stuff but it was raw and it was obvious he needed to fine tune some things.
WATCH: Matt Harvey throws at spring training
So I was very anxious to see what one year of minor league pitching has done for his development. And all I can say is WOW. First of all, his mechanics are so much better and the ball leaves his hand freely and easily. But the thing that most impressed me was the late movement on his pitches whether they were sliders or fastballs. Last year, the stuff was impressive but his delivery looked choppy to me. This year, he delivers the ball in a much smoother fashion and his footwork on the mound is light years ahead of what I saw last year.
His body language is also different in that he has a confidence that most young pitchers do not possess. It is not a swagger — it is more of a sense of trusting his stuff because he knows where he is headed. Now, do not get me wrong–he still needs more experience at the minor league level but to me that is just serving time in AAA. What I saw yesterday showed me that in the past 12 months, Matt Harvey has learned a lot and more importantly, listened to his coaches. My belief is he will be in New York more sooner than later. By that, I mean the start of next season at the latest.
Whenever that occurs, he will burst onto the scene in a way no Met pitching prospect has in years. At least that is my opinion. He has the stuff but he has more than that. He has the “right stuff”. Be patient Mets fans — he will be worth the wait.