Matt Harvey Is Greater Than Everyone Else

Courtesy: NY Daily News

Courtesy: NY Daily News

To say that Matt Harvey has been impressive in his first 17 starts to his career would be an understatement:

Year Age Tm W L ERA GS IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP H/9 SO/9 SO/BB
2012 23 NYM 3 5 2.73 10 59.1 42 19 18 5 26 70 1.146 6.4 10.6 2.69
2013 24 NYM 4 0 1.28 7 49.1 22 7 7 2 12 58 0.689 4.0 10.6 4.83
2 Yrs 7 5 2.07 17 108.2 64 26 25 7 38 128 0.939 5.3 10.6 3.37
162 Game Avg. 14 10 2.07 34 217 128 52 50 14 76 256 0.939 5.3 10.6 3.37
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/8/2013.
Courtesy: mythicalmonkey.blogspot.com

Courtesy: mythicalmonkey.blogspot.com

After 17 starts, he has roughly a half of a season under his belt and he can now officially be compared to Stephen Strasburg, whose first 17 starts looked like this:

Year Age Tm W L ERA GS IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP H/9 SO/9 SO/BB
2010 21 WSN 5 3 2.91 12 68.0 56 25 22 5 17 92 1.074 7.4 12.2 5.41
2011 22 WSN 1 1 1.50 5 24.0 15 5 4 0 2 24 0.708 5.6 9.0 12.00
                                   6  3  2.54  17  92    71  30  26  5     19 116  0.98   6.9   11.3  6.11
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/8/2013.

Matt Harvey deserves the hype and he deserves more hype than he has received. Tossing another in which he allowed four or fewer hits, which has happened in six of his seven starts, shows just how dominant Harvey is. It’s arguable that he has had the best start to a pitching career in baseball history.

Who would supplant him in the argument?

Fernando

Fernando Valenzuela was an All-Star from 1981 through 1986 and won the Cy Young award in his 1981 rookie season. Fernando-mania was in full effect early in his career and his numbers supported his skills; however, the strikeouts don’t measure up to the pure dominance that others, mentioned earlier and later, will have presented to this argument.

Year Age Tm Lg W L ERA GS GF CG SHO IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP H/9 SO/9 SO/BB
1980 19 LAD NL 2 0 0.00 0 4 0 0 17.2 8 2 0 0 5 16 0.736 4.1 8.2 3.20
1981 20 LAD NL 13 7 2.48 25 0 11 8 192.1 140 55 53 11 61 180 1.045 6.6 8.4 2.95
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/8/2013.

Gooden

Dwight Gooden had, quite possibly, the greatest start to any career in history. He dominated at the age of 19 and kept things rolling for several years. It is debatable as to whether it was a substance-abuse issue or the innings that he accumulated early in his career that caused his demise, but from 1984 through 1991, he was a four-time All-Star, one-time Cy Young winner, and he received several MVP votes.

Year Age Tm Lg W L ERA GS CG SHO IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP H/9 SO/9 SO/BB
1984 19 NYM NL 17 9 2.60 31 7 3 218.0 161 72 63 7 73 276 1.073 6.6 11.4 3.78
1985 20 NYM NL 24 4 1.53 35 16 8 276.2 198 51 47 13 69 268 0.965 6.4 8.7 3.88
1986 21 NYM NL 17 6 2.84 33 12 2 250.0 197 92 79 17 80 200 1.108 7.1 7.2 2.50
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/8/2013.

Hideo Nomo was the first true Asian sensation, coming to the United States from Japan and paving the way for Ichiro Suzuki, Daisuke Matsuzaka, and Yu Darvish. Nomo was the Rookie of the Year in 1995 and continued to impress in 1996. His career was derailed by shoulder issues but Nomo did produce a couple of solid seasons later in his career upon his return to Los Angeles.

Year Age Tm Lg W L ERA GS CG SHO IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP H/9 SO/9 SO/BB
1995 26 LAD NL 13 6 2.54 28 4 3 191.1 124 63 54 14 78 236 1.056 5.8 11.1 3.03
1996 27 LAD NL 16 11 3.19 33 3 2 228.1 180 93 81 23 85 234 1.161 7.1 9.2 2.75
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/8/2013.

Certainly, others, such as Mark Fidrych, have had excellent starts over the last 30 years, but when comparing dominance, it is undeniably absurd to say that Dwight Gooden wasn’t the pitcher with the best start to his career over the last several decades; however, based on what Matt Harvey has done over his first 17 starts, he has not only put better numbers up than Stephen Strasburg, but his statistics rival Gooden’s 1985 season, which was one of the best ever, particularly Harvey’s seven starts in 2013.

Harvey1

 

 

 

 

 

 

Matt Harvey has been absolutely dominant, which is surprising given his minor league numbers:

Year Age Tm Lg Lev W L ERA GS IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP H/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
2011 22 2 Teams 2 Lgs A+-AA 13 5 3.32 26 135.2 125 56 50 9 47 156 1.268 8.3 3.1 10.3 3.32
2011 22 St. Lucie FLOR A+ 8 2 2.37 14 76.0 67 24 20 5 24 92 1.197 7.9 2.8 10.9 3.83
2011 22 Binghamton EL AA 5 3 4.53 12 59.2 58 32 30 4 23 64 1.358 8.7 3.5 9.7 2.78
2012 23 Buffalo IL AAA 7 5 3.68 20 110.0 97 46 45 9 48 112 1.318 7.9 3.9 9.2 2.33
2 Seasons 20 10 3.48 46 245.2 222 102 95 18 95 268 1.290 8.1 3.5 9.8 2.82
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/8/2013.

The walks were high, the hits per nine were high, and the ERA was high. It just goes to show that harnessing a dynamic repertoire can go a long way in the elevation of a player’s abilities. Matt Harvey’s abilities, to this point in his brief career, appear to be better than nearly everyone else’s.

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2 Comments

Evan likes a NY Met! Write this day down in history!

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I’m still big on Ike Davis turning things around and I think that Wright is ok…give me SOME credit!

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