Matt Harvey burst onto the scene in Flushing this past season, cementing himself as a staff ace for the New York Mets, and giving hope to Mets fans for the first time in a few years. He led the rotation with a 9-5 record, an ERA of 2.27, and a WHIP of 0.93, striking out 191 hitters in 178.1 innings. He started the All Star Game, held in Citi Field, home of the Mets, for the National League.
Just as Mets fans were riding high on their new star, in late August, he was diagnosed with a partially torn UCL in his pitching elbow. After stints on the 15 day and 60 day DL, he was shut down for the season. GM Sandy Alderson and Harvey both took time to decide on whether he should get Tommy John surgery or not. If he opted for it, he would be ruled out of the 2014 season, and come back in 2015 with a brand new elbow and a reprieve of sorts. If he chose not to have surgery, he would have gone on a recovery program, and keep pitching while risking injury. He elected for surgery, and indeed will miss the entire season.
However, Tommy John surgery isn’t the death sentence for pitchers as it used to be. Notable pitchers who’ve recovered from this operation to pitch well and succeed include Adam Wainwright and Stephen Strasburg. Both returned to the top of their respective rotation and pitched well enough. Matt Harvey was held in similar regard pre-surgery, with the talent of an ace, and the ability to anchor a rotation. It remains to be seen whether his return would continue to herald hope for the Amazin’s, or it’s another heat-seeking missile to the heart of Mets fans.
The Mets have developed a strange habit of exemplifying Murphy’s Law, where everything that can go wrong, will go wrong. Whether another of their young promising players gets hurt, or another game goes awry due to a leaky bullpen, or a Ponzi-scheme, they seem to find a new way every day to find failure. Mets fans feared the worst when Harvey went down.
However, with many teams who are so bad for so long, they begin to develop a good farm system, and gather young talent. The Mets have accrued many young arms to put together the future’s next best rotation. In terms of prospects up-and-coming, they have Zack Wheeler, Noah Syndergaard, Rafael Montero, and various others behind Matt Harvey. Provided Harvey can recover fully, and return to form, and the prospects live up to their potential, this could be a rotation leaned on for quite some time, and potential to give the Mets a chance to win games.
The Mets have been through a good amount of turmoil since the Cardinals knocked them out of the 2006 NLCS. But there is light at the end of the tunnel. The Mets aren’t out of the woods yet, Harvey still needs to spend a year rehabilitating, and the prospects need more time to develop. There will be a rough growing period. But if everything goes according to plan, the Mets will have one of the better young rotations in baseball.