For Matt Harvey, 2018 has to be more than just a bounce-back year. It needs to be the year where he defines his entire career.
It seems like an eternity ago, but at one point, Matt Harvey seemed like the future of the Mets. Before Jacob DeGrom and Noah Syndergaard even joined the team, Harvey was there, breaking records and starting All-Star Games. Typical rookie stuff. In 2015, when the Mets reached the World Series, Harvey’s dominant 8+ inning performance in Game 5 came crashing to a halt after walking Lorenzo Cain and giving up a subsequent RBI double to Eric Hosmer. Harvey was removed from the game, and the Mets would lose the series later that night.
Since then, Harvey has never been the same pitcher he once was. Over the past two seasons, he’s gone 9-17 while posting a staggering ERA of 5.78. He wasn’t able to finish either season due to injury.
However, 2018 will be a year where the Mets can only go up, and in a contract year, Harvey has the chance to prove he can be a dynamic part of the team’s rotation. With Manager Mickey Callaway at the reins of a complete turnaround for the Mets after an abysmal 2017, it would only make sense that Matt Harvey could completely turn his career around.
During his tenure as pitching coach for Cleveland, Callaway was responsible for the evolution and domination of both Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco, pitchers who led the Indians to back to back playoff appearances over the past 2 years. With the Mets, Callaway believes he can do the same, and that the talent is inherent for the team. “The amount of very good arms and quality stuff we have in this Mets organization, I promise you nobody else has that,” Callaway said on Tuesday.
Of course, in order for the talent to shine, the Mets need to overcome their greatest weakness and stay healthy. In 2017, four out of the five probable starters for the Mets all served lengthy stints on the disabled list, while DeGrom was the only SP to have an effective season. While Callaway danced around the idea of limiting pitchers’ innings, he put an immense emphasis on health, a topic that Harvey has struggled with immensely.
After undergoing surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome in 2016, and in 2017, Harvey received more surgery to repair his left shoulder blade. While there are still plenty of questions regarding his health, and if he could possibly return to form in 2018, Callaway has put his faith into not only Harvey, but the entire Mets pitching staff. “There are smiles on everyone’s faces because they’re coming in healthy and what I’ve seen so far has kind of blown me away”