With the injury to Jenrry Mejia, Matt Harvey is now the Mets #1 pitching prospect. You could debate he was the #1 even with Mejia healthy, but either way he is now. With the fact that the Mets really don’t have more than 3 guys you can say are long term starting pitchers in the majors right now, possibly 2(Johan Santana and Jon Niese) if you believe Mike Pelfrey is on a slid which I don’t.
With Mejia done for 9-12 months and the possibility that he ends up being changed to a closer which would spark much debate around the fan base, your only other legitimate possible frontline starting pitching option in the minors is Matt Harvey. Harvey has more than done his job so far in St Lucie. He is 4-1 with a 1.10 ERA, in 32.2 innings he’s allowed 24 hits (.207 BAA) 4 ER (1 HR) 11 BB and has struck out 39.
Harvey clearly is ready for AA, it’s just a matter of when the Mets decide to send him there. Before the Mets used the 7th overall pick on Harvey, the questions around him were that he didn’t have a full arsenal of pitches, relying on two and that his inconsistent mechanics led to control problems. In talking with people down in St Lucie who have seen Harvey throw I have been told he is throwing 4 pitches, and controlling them reasonably well due to the fact he is repeating a clean delivery.
I would think by June 1 you see Harvey promoted, and that will be the real test. I expect him to excel in AA, maybe not to the tune of a 1.10 ERA, but the kid is the goods. I said this on draft day last year despite the pundits. Harvey very well could be a workhorse starter with plus stuff. Say hello to a quality #2 starter. The Mets have a dire need to Harvey to reach his potential given the lack of high end pitching in the system, as well as the fact that outside of Santana, whom you don’t know what you’re getting your major league staff doesn’t have any either.
Everyone that knows Harvey knows he is mentally strong, and has the stuff to back it up. I have little doubt that he will be able to step up and be that guy that the Mets need him to be. I want to be patient with Harvey but if he goes to AA and pitches very well it is going to be hard to not give him a fair shake at winning a rotation spot early in 2012. In my opinion the Mets absolutely need Harvey to live up to his potential, and I think he will.