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Sunday, March 19, 2017

Imagining the New Matt Harvey | FanGraphs Baseball

Eno Harris does not paint an optimistic view for Harvey if his old velocity doesn’t come back.

Could he throw his secondary pitches a lot more this year and pitch backwards? Perhaps, though Tim Lincecum once admitted that that sort of thing wasn’t working for him once he lost his fastball velocity. The secondary pitches all rely on the fastball in some form or another.

We have done some research on what makes a changeup good — velocity differential and horizontal and vertical movement defined off the fastball. Harvey’s changeup last year rated 131st based on those metrics, and below average. He started using it less as the year went on. His slider had below-average drop, and though it was hard, the most important thing for whiffs on the slider is drop. The curve had good velocity (last year) but four inches less drop than average, and drop is also important for the curve.

It looks like the fastball was the key for Harvey, and it won’t be the same this year. Without a dominant secondary pitch that can take its place as the foundation, he’ll need to find more command than he’s shown in the past. Harvey will have to learn how to pitch at 92. It just doesn’t look like it will be easy.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 19, 2017 at 08:52 AM | 3 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: matt harvey, mets

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   1. Russlan thinks deGrom is da bomb Posted: March 19, 2017 at 11:42 AM (#5419507)
I'd be very happy with Matt Harvey if he could be a fifth starter this season. I think it's more likely that he's removed from the rotation at some point, either because of injury or performance.
   2. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: March 19, 2017 at 02:19 PM (#5419555)
The track record of pitchers coming back from TOS is not very good. Hopefully Harvey can be an exception. It would seem to me that his loss of command/control is more problematic than the loss of velocity. A pitcher can still be effective with a 92mph fastball, he just needs to have excellent command to go along with above-average secondary pitches. It's hard to have above-average secondary pitches without excellent command.

   3. PreservedFish Posted: March 19, 2017 at 02:26 PM (#5419556)
92 is not necessarily the new normal. He's only been throwing full speed for a little while now. To be sure, I don't expect anything out of him this year, but a slow start doesn't mean his career is over.

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