In a move that has been long desired by New York fans, the Mets are handing the ball to prospect Matt Harvey. The right-hander has been recalled from triple-A and will make his debut on Thursday night against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Harvey, 23, was the club’s first round draft pick (7th overall) out of the University of North Carolina during the 2010 amateur draft. He’s made a quick climb through the minor league system since then and opened 2012 in triple-A. The hurler had a bit of a bumpy April but cruised through May and June by striking out 72 batters in 66.1 innings of work. In a total of 110 innings on the year, Harvey has an impressive strikeout rate of 9.16 K/9.
His control has been inconsistent throughout the year so he may struggle a bit during his first taste of the major leagues while he tries to fill in for injured veteran starter Johan Santana. Harvey features a low-to-mid-90s fastball and a very good slider. The continued development of his changeup is important to his future success as a big league starter.
Harvey came in at No. 26 on my pre-season Top 100 prospects list and was the No. 2 prospect on FanGraphs’ pre-season New York Mets Top 15 prospect list. He came in just behind fellow right-handed prospect Zack Wheeler. The former Giants prospect, who’s currently pitching at the double-A level, has the slight edge on overall ceiling but Harvey should be – at worst – an innings-eating third starter.
The New York Mets are currently in third place in the National League East division, 10.5 games behind the Nationals. The organization is fighting five teams ahead of them for one of the two wild card spots in the 2012 playoffs. With only two healthy, above-average pitchers in R.A. Dickey and Jon Niese, Harvey has an opportunity to help solidify the starting rotation until some of the veteran arms return from the infirmary.