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Friday, April 7, 2017

2017 FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: MEET THE NEW MATT HARVEY

TOS.  Those three letters make any pitcher shudder in fear.  A procedure that often involves removing a rib to help re-open circulation in a pitcher's arm is a big deal and there are a few well-known cases of victims never coming back anywhere near their previous abilities.  Whether it was Noah Lowry, Jeremy Bonderman, or more recently Phil Hughes, these were examples where the procedure ruined their careers.  Then the are the cases of Chris Carpenter and Josh Beckett who both came back as useful members of their teams' rotations but with a noticeable drop in velocity and in turn K/9 rate.  Whereas Carpenter and Beckett used to try and blow hitters away with their high-90's stuff, post-TOS they used mostly secondary offerings in getting outs via pitching to contact.  It is this latter group that was brought to mind if one watched New York Mets starter Matt Harvey make his first start of the season Thursday night against the Atlanta Braves.  What we saw was a vastly different version of Harvey than the guy who was your classic power arm that struck out a very high amount of batters.  Alas after a spring training where his velocity stayed mostly in the low-90's (as opposed to the 98 he routinely hit before the surgery), Harvey upped that slightly in mostly residing in the 93-95 range Thursday night.  The result was that Harvey stuck out only four Braves in his 6.2 innings but he also was completely in control in giving up just 3 hits in getting the victory.  Now two of the hits were solo home runs by Matt Kemp; likely a result of the drop in velocity making it less of a challenge for a hitter to catch up to Harvey's pitches; but overall it was a very good outing.  Harvey mostly relied on his secondary offerings and only mixed in his moderate fastball once in awhile.  Yes this was a far cry from he former ace version of Harvey but it worked nonetheless.  Of course many who drafted Harvey this season were hoping the big strikeouts would return but the history of the surgery suggests that is not going to happen.  For now project Harvey as an SP 3 with some remaining upside going forward the further he moves away from his surgery.  Yes this was just one start but it was encouraging nonetheless.


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