Browsing Posts tagged Matt Harvey

Tonight will be a pivot moment in Matt Harvey’s career. Billed as New York’s ace, Harvey will take the ball at Citi Field in a pivotal Game 3. Harvey, who is no stranger to the spotlight, will have a chance to move New York one step closer to the National League Championship Series. Harvey loves the spotlight; his whole persona is built upon seizing the big moment. In some ways, tonight’s game is reminiscent of the New York Yankees’ run in the late 1990s. Granted, the Mets have not won a World Series title since 1986, but Game 3 has a ‘big game feel’ to it. Big games require big performances and fans are used to seeing New York athletes rise to the occasion. Andy Pettitte made a career of pitching in (and winning) big playoff games. Pettitte, who has arguably the best resume in playoff history (42 starts, 263 innings, 19 wins, five World Series rings), brought intensity and determination to the mound. Pettitte, however, found a way to harness that intensity as he methodically worked through opposing lineups. Harvey has elite ‘stuff’, but can he harness his emotions and deliver an elite performance? There’s a lot of bad blood between these two teams after Chase Utley’s controversial slide in Game 2. As a side note, Utley, who is appealing his suspension, is 6-for-18 with one home run against Harvey.

The Mets, alike the late 1990s Yankees, are the only show in town. Football is on the back burner and the Mets are front and center in the minds and hearts of New York sports fans. The onus is on Matt Harvey to deliver an elite performance. Given his make-up, mentality, and propensity for the spotlight, expect Matt Harvey to deliver a big performance tonight.

Some sports books have released MLB win totals. Over the next few days, we’ll analyze the win totals by division and comments where we see some value. Today, we’ll focus on the National League East:

The odds-makers believe that Washington will run away with the National League East title. After adding Max Scherzer to an already loaded rotation, it’s hard not to envision Washington not only winning the NL East, but winning the National League itself. 

Washington

As mentioned above, Washington is easily the best team in the National League. Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg can match-up against any team. Washington’s offense, which is led by Ian Desmond and Bryce Harper, is very solid. The rest of the NL East isn’t in Washington’s class.

New York

Hopes are very high for the Mets. Matt Harvey will return, Michael Cuddyer was signed to provide veteran leadership, and David Wright is 100% healthy after a pesky shoulder injury limited him last season. It’s been a very long-time since the Yankees and Mets were projected to win the same amount of games. The Mets have a golden opportunity to be the toast of the town.

Miami

Miami made Giancarlo Stanton its $325 million man, but its other moves have gone surprisingly unnoticed. Miami traded for Martin Prado and Mat Latos while inking Michael Morse in free agency. Its ace, Jose Fernandez, will be out until mid-June. 

Atlanta

With the exception of Craig Kimbrel, Atlanta lost nearly all of its talented players. Justin Upton and Jason Heyward were traded away while Aaron Harang and Ervin Santana, who threw nearly 400 innings, left via free agency. Julio Teheran and Alex Wood will be expected to lead this rotation.

Philadelphia

The Phillies are years away from competing. The Phillies may trade away Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee,  which would push Philadelphia deeper into its rebuilding process.

Observations:

  • Despite adding Scherzer, the odds-makers are projecting Washington to win fewer games. The odds-makers are still bullish on Miami even without the presence of Fernandez. None of these lines offer a lot of value, but I would bet on our hometown, New York Mets. The Mets may not make the playoffs, but winning 82-85 games would be a huge improvement and a building block for next season.

Best Bet:

  • Mets Over 81.5 Wins

Entering the 2015 season, expectations are high for the New York Mets. Ace Matt Harvey will return after having Tommy John surgery. Harvey’s presence will be a welcome addition to a team that won 79 games last season. Harvey will join a rotation that features Rookie of the Year, Jacob deGromm, Zach Wheeler, and Bartolo Colon. Harvey was masterful during the 2013 season by striking out 191 hitters over 178 innings while posting an impressive 2.27 ERA. deGromm stepped up in Harvey absence by posting a 2.69 ERA over 140 innings. Run support has been an issue and has limited win totals for its starting pitchers. New York added outfielder Michael Cuddyer and will hope for a bounce back campaign from David Wright. Cuddyer rejected a $15 million qualifying offer from Colorado in order to join New York on a two-year deal. Cuddyer only appeared in 49 games last season as he dealt with injuries, but the 36-year-old outfielder should provide leadership  to a younger lineup. Wright posted career lows last season as he dealt with an ailing shoulder injury. Wright’s home run total (8) and on-base percentage (.324) were career lows. 

Entering the 2015 season, the Washington Nationals are clear favorites in the National League East. Still, New York has the young talent to compete for a Wildcard spot. New York’s National League East foes are also expected to have down seasons. Atlanta is building for the future while Miami is dealing with a few injuries. The opportunities will be there for the Mets to compete in the 2015. 

On Thursday, the New York Mets signed 40-year-old RHP Bartolo Colon to a two-year, $20 million contract. Last season, Colon posted a 18-6 record with a 2.65 ERA as a member of the Oakland A’s. Colon was surprisingly durable, striking out 117 batters in 190 innings. Over the last three season, Colon has tossed at least 152 innings, silencing his critics that his girth (265 LBs) and age (41 in May) will lead to his decline. Still, this signing is high risk and there are a few reasons why Colon could crap out in New York:

  1. Home Run Rate: Over the course of his career, Colon has given up one home run per every eight innings. Colon called Oakland home for the last two seasons and only allowed one home run per every 9.1 innings. The Oakland Coliseum, which is known as a pitcher’s park, is the fifth friendliest stadium for pitchers. After moving its fence in, Citi Field was 14th last season. On the surface, the change from the AL West to NL East should present easier line-ups, but the park factors may make this a moot point.
  2. Injuries: Despite throwing 152+ innings over the last three seasons, Colon has made multiple trips to the disabled list for thigh, abdomen, and groin issues. 
  3. 2013 Playoffs: Colon was passed over for the inexperienced Sonny Gray during the ALDS. Colon had an ugly August (0-2, 8.41 ERA in three starts) and A’s promptly sat him down for two weeks. Colon responded and went 4-1 during September, but the need for a ‘break’ does not exactly installed confidence in Met fans.
  4. Pitch Selection: Call it an aberration or a way to beat Father Time, but a whopping 87% of his pitches last year were fastballs. Curve balls and sliders obviously cause stress on the arm, but one has to wonder how long Colon’s fastball velocity will remain a Major League level. Last season, Colon’s fastball averaged 90.1 MPH. 

If you examine signings thus far, Colon’s deal appears to be a good one. Dan Haren (1 year, $10 million), Scott Feldman (3/30), and Tim Hudson (1/12), received similar deals, but Colon’s workload and performance has been better.However, a 2-year, $20 million deal for a Met team that isn’t expected to compete doesn’t make a lot of sense. The Met won’t have their ace as Matt Harvey rehabs from Tommy John surgery. Colon could arguably be the Met ‘ace’, but he could also re-injure his thigh and miss two months. Colon has never been one to mentor younger players, so the Mets aren’t getting a player that’s interested in helping develop younger players. A two-year deal to a contender would make sense, but for a Met team that needs to develop younger players, it’s a waste of money. This move was strictly done to appease the Met fan base. 

Detroit will send Rick Porcello to the mound as the Tigers go for the three-game sweep against the Mets. Yesterday, Max Scherzer won the battle of the aces against Matt Harvey by throwing six innings of shutout ball. Scherzer rung up 11 strikeouts and only yielded two hits over six frames. Luckily for the Mets, Rick Porcello is not Max Scherzer. Porcello, a New Jersey native, boasts a 9-7 record with a 4.52 ERA. Over his last three starts, Porcello is 1-1, but has given up 24 hits and 11 earned runs. Oddly enough, Porcello’s road splits (5-4, 3.90 ERA) are much better than his home split at the spacious Commerica Park (4-3, 5.09 ERA). The Tigers hope Porcello can utilize the pitcher friendly Citi Field to his advantage.

The Mets will send righty, Dillon Gee (9-8, 3.60 ERA) to the mound in hope of stopping the sweep. Unlike Porcello, Gee has fared much better recently, winning four of his last five decisions including 7 2/3 innings, nine strikeout masterpiece against the Minnesota Twins. Gee has enjoyed the friendly confines of Citi Field. Gee is 4-3 with a 2.21 ERA.

Once again, the Tigers opened as a -140 money line favorite. The Tigers recorded 13 hits off of Matt Harvey, so Vegas expects them to keep hitting against Dillon Gee. Expect the Tiger bats to finish off the sweep at Citi Field.

Last week, ESPN’s Keith Law ranked baseball’s best prospects. The Yankees had four prospects on the list, highlighted by #23 Manny Banuelos and #34 Mason Williams while the Mets had two highlighted by #27 Zach Wheeler. More details from Keith Law’s report will be provided after the jump.

Manny B--AP Photo

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On Friday, I profiled Law’s top Yankee prospects entering the 2011 season. Today, it’s time to focus on the Metropolitans. Shortstop Wilmer Flores (48) and pitcher Matt Harvey (83) made Law’s list. Flores bounced around Single A ball while Harvey, the Mets first round pick last year (#7 Overall), will likely start the year in Single A. Both players are at least two years away from making a big league impact, but the upside is there. For a full breakdown, continue reading.

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With the 7th overall pick in the 2010 MLB Draft, the New York Mets select Matt Harvey, a right-handed pitcher from the University of North Carolina. In the 2009 season, Harvey went 7-2 with a 5.40 ERA in his 2009 sophomore campaign and followed that up with a 7-3 record and a 3.10 ERA in his 2010 season as a junior.

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