The seventh pick in the 2010 MLB draft out of the University of North Carolina, Matt Harvey was an afterthought of sorts in a draft that included highly-touted catching prospect Bryce Harper going 1st overall to the Washington Nationals. While Harper was busy hitting 500-foot home runs in junior college, Harvey was mowing down ACC batters and has continued to do the same in the professional ranks of baseball.
Harvey has started his professional career this season with a bang. Harvey has dominated the opposing batters in the Florida State League, which is a part of Class Single A-Advanced. Matt has the second-best ERA in the FSL, only behind fellow SL-Met pitcher Darin Gorski. Harvey has a not too shabby ERA of 2.44. He is also tied for the most wins in the league with eight. Harvey's record of 8-2 on the year is one of the many reasons why the St. Lucie Mets are winning the FSL South division and are in prime position to be the first-half winner of that division.
Harvey has been so successful this season due to his ability to overpower hitters and strike them out. Matt is tied for first in the FSL in strikeouts with 88. That's a ton of strikeouts, especially considering that he has only pitched 70 innings this season. Having 18 more strikeouts than innings pitched shows that Harvey has had multiple strikeouts in many innings this season. It also shows that he has compiled a strikeout in most innings this year, which shows his consistent dominance over opposing batters.
In addition to his exploits in striking out opposing batters, Matt also has shown great control and command in his first professional baseball season. Harvey has only walked 22 batters in his 70 innings pitched. When compared to his strikeout numbers, he has an exact 4-1 strikeout-walk ratio. When even a 2-1 strikeout-walk ratio is considered to be good, a 4-1 ratio is just amazing. Harvey has the perfect mix of size (6ft 4in 210lbs), control (22 walks in 70 IP), and speed (high 90s fastball) needed to be a productive pitcher in pro baseball and hopefully, in the big leagues as well.
Harvey throws a four-seam fastball, slider, sinker, and curveball regularly. He throws his fastball normally around 96 mph, which just blows away hitters in the FSL, but it has yet to be seen if that dominance will continue to work in the higher levels of the minors or even in the big leagues. The fastball is his main go-to pitch, but his off-speed pitches can also work to get some batters out.
Harvey is not considered a sinker-ball pitcher, but his sinker consistently gets batters to ground out, which helps to keep his WHIP low, around 1.20. His slider and curve mainly work as complementary pitches to his blistering fastball and help to keep batters guessing as to which pitches they are going to get. This gives that fastball even more life when the batter is faced with the job of hitting it.
Sandy Alderson has already stated that his administration will try not to rush prospects through the minor league system into the majors after seeing the failed cases of Scott Kazmir and Fernando Martinez, just to name a few. Regardless, since Harvey was a high first-round pick, we shouldn't be surprised to see him in a Mets uniform and in the starting rotation by July of 2012. This kid is a real keeper and he is going to be a successful MLB pitcher, hopefully with the Mets. He has top of the rotation stuff and will be up there in the Mets rotation with Johan Santana when the Met ace returns from injury.