FanPost

Cleaning the Silo, Part 4: Matt Harvey throws Fire..stein.

 

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"Would you be careful with this arm? it's a flamethrowing 21-year old named Matthew Edward Harvey."

 

The 411

DOB: 3/27/89, HT, WT: 6-4, 210; B/T: R/R

Matt Harvey was named the nation's #1 prep prospect in preseason 2007 by Baseball America, and as a senior at Fitch High School went 6-1 with a 0.64 ERA with 112 strikeouts in 54.2 innings. He not only set school records in strikeouts, wins, and ERA, but also in RBI and hits. He was a preseason All-American every year of high school except freshman. I could cite much more, but you get the picture, he was a stud.

Prior to the 2007 Draft, Kevin Goldstein wrote the following of Harvey in his mock draft:

17. Texas Rangers

The Rangers have a pair of first-round picks, and seemingly no budget concerns with the first of the duo. They have a positive relationship with Boras, and have been on Matt Harvey all year. Harvey entered the year as the second-best high school pitcher in the draft, but his stock dropped a bit due to inconsistent performances. Texas is still trying to gage his signability, and if it's considered even halfway reasonable, they feel the power righty would be a steal this low.

Pick: Matt Harvey, RHP, Fitch HS (Connecticut)

However, he dropped to the third round to the Los Angeles Angels (117th overall) due to signing bonus demands (Boras client, and I do not blame him one bit), fluctuating control and velocity, and intending on accepting a scholarship at North Carolina if he didn't sign. Bill Stoneman and the Angels were willing to pay Harvey an already overslot bonus worth $1.5 million, a number worthy of mid-first round picks that year. But Harvey asked for more than 2 million, a deal could not be made, and Harvey was going to down to Chapel Hill.

(all stats compliments of The Baseball Cube)

Year Team Lg Age Org Lvl W L ERA G GS CG SHO GF SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9
2008 North Carolina ACC 19 - NCAA 7 2 2.79 19 16 0 0 0 67 52 31 21 1 47 80 1.46 6.92 0.13 6.25 10.64
2009 North Carolina ACC 20 - NCAA 7 2 5.40 21 13 0 0 1 75 88 52 45 8 42 81 1.73 10.56 0.96 5.04 9.72
2010 North Carolina ACC 21 - NCAA 8 3 3.09 14 14 2 0 0 96 80 42 33 6 35 102 1.20 7.50 0.56 3.28 9.56

 

A sterling freshman season in 2008 which consisted of just under 11 bats missed per 9 innings pitched (albeit with 6 walks/9), was followed by an exceedingly strange sophomore campaign where his walks and strikeouts per 9 both decreased but his hits per 9 skyrocketed. He had a horrid showing in the Cape Cod League, just exacerbating his tough 2009. 2010 was arguably his most impressive campaign yet as he cut his walk rate down 2 walks per 9 innings while still fanning more than a batter per inning, culminating in the lowest WHIP of his college career.

Kevin Goldstein projected him to go 6th overall in his 2010 mock draft,

6. Arizona Diamondbacks: Arizona has been focused on pitching all spring, specifically on the college type that can help quickly. Georgia Tech's Deck McGuire certainly fits that profile, but while he offers arguably more certainly than any pitcher in the draft, he doesn't rank high when it comes to upside. North Carolina's Matt Harvey has been surging up draft boards of late, and could land as high as No. 6 after looking like a mid-to-late first-round pick a month ago.

Pick: Matt Harvey, RHP, North Carolina

but later changed it to the Mets in his final mock draft:

7. New York Mets: Still a lot of players in the mix here. Zack Cox has floated a big number out there money-wise, and while it seems like there are several teams willing to call that bluff, it's still hard to find a home for him.  Late rumors have the Mets preferring Harvey and being comfortable with the cost.

Pick: Matt Harvey, RHP, North Carolina

(For the record, Cox slipped to 25 at the Cardinals and the Diamondbacks ended up drafting the now-Texas Ranger Barret Loux thanks to a long saga over an alleged failed physical.)

Then KG wrote a full analysis about Harvey (and some interesting insight as to who the Mets considered as well):

Inside the Pick: After looking at college hitters throughout the spring, the Mets soured on the price tags of Zach Cox and Yasmani Grandal, while feeling that high school catcher Justin O'Conner just wasn't good enough to be taken this high. While Harvey doesn't have the consistency of some other college arms, he certainly has the upside.

What He is: A pure power pitcher with a big frame and the ability to not only eat innings, but dominate late in games. His low-to-mid-90s fastball touched 96-97 mph on occasion this spring, and his slider is a plus offering that he throws with confidence at any point in the count.

What He is Not: A guy many teams trust. His first two years at North Carolina were dogged by inconsistency in stuff, performance, command, and mechanics, and many teams couldn't put him high on their list after recalling his nightmarish showing in the Cape Cod League last summer. He's been awfully good this year, but there's a fear that he's could regress at any moment.

Path with the Mets: Barring a step in the wrong direction, Harvey could move relatively quickly. As a Scott Boras client, don't expect a quick sign, but he should start 2011 at High-A.

 Many scouts believe Harvey saved his first-round status with a good showing his junior year, but he still has a history of inconsistency in spite of the impressive tools.

However, those same tools allowed him to be named  a 4-star prospect, and the #2 prospect in the system by BP in December:

Harvey has a nearly perfect pitcher's frame and the stuff to go with it. His low-to-mid-90s fastball is a dominant offering, and he was clocked as high as 98 mph last spring. He gets good spin on a power breaking ball that gives him a second plus offering when he's on. He's unflappable on the mound and earns praise for his aggressive pitching style.

Harvey struggled with his mechanics in college, and his multi-part delivery leads to inconsistent release points, which leads to corresponding control issues. His changeup is a below-average pitch that will need coaching and consistent work. He has no history of arm issues, but shouldered a heavy workload last spring.

He has star potential, but with his inconsistent track record, it comes with a healthy dose of risk, though Harvey is advanced enough to begin his pro career at High-A St. Lucie, and he's talented enough to be at Double-A by season's end.


Rankings/Grades

Baseball Prospectus: 4-star Prospect, #2 in NYM system. #75 in Kevin Goldstein's Top 101

Baseball America: #4 in NYM system

One of the top prep pitchers in the 2007 draft, Harvey slid to the third round because of signability and a commitment to North Carolina. Inconsistent in his first two years, he had a strong junior season in 2010 and went seventh overall in the draft. He signed at the deadline for a slightly over-slot $2.525 million. Harvey has the physicality and the arm strength favored by the Mets when they select college righthanders at the top of the draft. The line traces back from Harvey to Brad Holt to Eddie Kunz to Mike Pelfrey to Philip Humber. Harvey pitches 91-95 with his fastball and touches 97, through his control wavers because his long arm action affects his release points. He throws a slider and a curveball, but the Mets prefer that he develops the latter, a power downer that shows flashes of being a plus-plus pitch. His mid-80s slider features depth and late finish. He improved the balance and tempo in his delivery through hard work in college, a testament to his maturity. If he maintains direction to the plate and throws strikes, Harvey has front-of-the-rotation stuff. He'll his pro career in High-A St. Lucie. 

John Sickels: Grade B

Matt Harvey had a very strong freshman season for the North Carolin Tar Heels in 2008, but a troublesome 2009 season hurt his stock with scouts. He improves in 2010, regaining his cachet and earning a spot as the seventh overall pick in the first round. He signed late and hasn't pitched professionally, so it's to know just what his talent with translate into in professional ball. Harvey is all about are strength, throwing 92-96 when his mechanics are right. His secondary stuff can be erratic, and he replaced his formerly-strong curveball with a slider last year, with good success. His changeup isn't the best, and will need to be improved at the higher levels. If Harvey throws strikes, he has the size and stuff scouts look for in a rotation anchor. But will he throw strikes? That's an open question. I tend to be optimistic about him with go with a strong Grade B for now.

Hardball Times: #4 in NYM system.

4. Matt Harvey / RP/SP / Harvey was a wild overdraft in 2010, as his stuff and delivery seem better suited for the bullpen, where he could be a standout, rather than starting. The Mets must see something more than most do, so he finds his way into the Top 10.

Fangraphs: #4 in NYM system.

Estimated Peak WAR: 4.0

Notes: Harvey was a top prep pitcher but he spurned the Angels’ offer when he fell in the ’07 draft due to signability concerns. His value dropped temporarily in college, but he rebuilt his game and ended up going in the first round of the 2010 draft. He has a whip-y arm action that appears to put stress on his shoulder and elbow, which could lead to injury problems down the road. He has little movement through his trunk and a long stride. Harvey pitches with a three-quarters arm slot more, which is clearly more conducive to throwing a slider than a curveball, which was his best pitch in high school and his freshman season in college. He fights his release point and loses his arm slot, which can cause control problems. His delivery and injury concerns could lead to him moving to the back end of the bullpen where he can focus on his mid-90s fastball and breaking ball. Harvey didn’t pitch in pro ball in 2010 and should open 2011 in high-A ball.

Diamond Futures: Grade A, #3 in NYM system

3) Matt Harvey, RHP

After a sophomore season that had Harvey’s draft stock in freefall, he rebounded nicely last spring and went even higher (7th overall) than we expected (mid-first round). At 6’4”, 225lbs, Harvey has additional projection on his already mid-90s fastball. He compliments the heater with a plus curve and average slider. Where Harvey struggles is with his command—as he has a tendency to overthrow, getting his mechanics out of whack. Adding to longer-term concerns is the current lack of a useable change. This is more born from lack of necessity than anything mechanical. If it all comes together, Harvey has the repertoire to pitch at the front of a Big League rotation, and we will likely get to see just how much work there remains when Harvey makes his debut in the FSL in 2011.

Matt Garrioch: #2 in NYM system, #49 in baseball

Scout.com: #84 in baseball

Project Prospect: #48 in baseball

48   Matt Harvey   RHP   21.9   NYM   n/a 5 (B-)   2 (D+)   Moderate

Prospect Junkies: #95 in baseball

 

The stuff has been there since he was an 18 year old carving up high school hitters at Fitch HS; unfortunately, so has the fluctuating velocity and control.

This FanPost was contributed by a member of the community and was not subject to any vetting or approval process. It does not necessarily reflect the opinions, reasoning skills, or attention to grammar and usage rules held by the editors of this site.

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