Does Matt Harvey's Near-Perfect Game Solidify Him as the Cy Young Favorite?

Chris StephensCorrespondent IIMay 7, 2013

Matt Harvey had the game of his career Tuesday night for the New York Mets.

Harvey pitched nine innings against the Chicago White Sox and struck out 12 while giving up one hit and no walks. His only blemish came on an Alex Rios infield single in the seventh.

The Mets won the game in the 10th, but Harvey's pitching was the story of the night.

Which begs the question—is Harvey now the Cy Young favorite in the National League?

Harvey leads the NL in strikeouts (58) and WHIP (0.69), ranks second in wins above replacement (2.1) and ERA (1.28) and third in innings pitched (49.1) and wins (four).

His worst outing was a six-inning, three-earned-run performance against the Los Angeles Dodgers on April 24.

Harvey was named the NL Pitcher of the Month in April and looked good in his first start in May.

But can he really keep it up the rest of the year?


The Nerdiness of Matt Harvey

Most pitchers use film as a resource throughout the year to help them make adjustments.

However, Harvey has used something else since his junior year of college, according to Ted Berg of USA Today:

Harvey maintains on his iPad a pitching diary that dates to his junior year in college at North Carolina, before the Mets drafted him seventh overall in 2010.

In the document, which Harvey calls his "pitching bible," he records notes on every outing, including the details of his mistakes, temporary mechanical adjustments he made during the start and personal scouting reports on his approach to every hitter he expects to face again.

For a young pitcher, this is huge. Harvey is able to see what adjustments he makes and what his logic was on each situation.

This is the kind of thing you would expect from veterans like Tim Hudson and Cliff Lee, not from a guy who has started just 17 games in his big league career.


His Competition

If the first month of the season holds serve, then pitchers like Gio Gonzalez, Stephen Strasburg, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Matt Cain are out of the picture. While all five have the ability to turn it around, they're already behind the curve compared to Harvey.

Instead, players like Hudson, Adam Wainwright and Lance Lynn could be his main competition.

Lynn is the only one of the three who has put up equally as good of numbers, giving up four earned runs twice this season and one run or less in all but one other start this year.

If the first six weeks of the season are any indication, Harvey looks to have a leg up on everyone.


The Missing Pieces

While Harvey has been impressive, one must remember his starts have come against teams with a combined record of 96-125.

The only team to be proud of beating is the Washington Nationals. Then again, their offense has struggled this year as well.

The missing pieces for his starts are the Atlanta Braves, Cincinnati Reds, St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants.

Should he continue to get a start every fifth game through the first half of the season, Harvey will face the Reds, New York Yankees, Braves and Giants. That means he'll get his opportunities to prove himself before July.

If he can pass those tests, then Harvey will enter the second half of the season as the leader in the Cy Young race.