Matt Harvey is arguably the most important New York Mets’ player. Remember 2013, when Harvey exploded onto the scene and rocked a 2.27 ERA? He also started the All-Star game and had a 6.0 WAR. Not bad for a right-hander in his first full MLB season.
2014 was a different story. An injury-plagued, disappointing story. He missed the whole season due to Tommy John surgery. This devastating step backwards partially crippled the Mets’ chances.
In 2015, Harvey will be returning. The carrier of hope in New York will shoulder the weight, the desperation, of a tormented fan base. Big markets succeeding can help drive the game. Baseball isn’t benefiting from the Mets stinking and never making noise in October.
With Harvey in the fold, New York has a juicy rotation of youngsters. Jacob DeGrom was the NL Rookie of the Year last season. Zach Wheeler has ace stuff and decent experience under his belt. The list goes on. Don’t be surprised if New York makes a playoff push.
If Harvey shows healthy and dominant form, that push might turn into a full on tackle. Here’s the snag, though. While Harvey represents hope and relevance, the Mets can’t rush him. Keep in mind the title of this article. New York can’t afford to run Harvey into the ground early in 2015.
If they pace him, say no more than five innings for his first few starts, around six during the next couple, Harvey might restore his 2013 glory. The Mets shouldn’t let him enter the seventh until they’re absolutely confident in his health. Greatness can’t be rushed.
Mets’ fans probably want to rush the process. Patiently waiting through forgotten seasons is tough. In time, however, the wait might actually be worth it. That is, it will be if Harvey’s able to stay healthy.