Matthew Edward Harvey is amazing. He truly injected life into this fan base with his dominant pitching from September to August. I wasn't alive to see Doc Gooden in his hey day but after watching Harvey this year I can finally understand what it felt like. With a fastball averaging 97 miles an hour as well as the hardest curveball and slider in the major leagues Harvey set New York on fire. As if that wasn't enough he had to start dating supermodels as well. In fact many people like Mike Fatcesser...er....Francesca condoned his decision to appear in the ESPN body issue. One of my favorite Harvey starts this year was the one after the All Star Game. Despite coming off a dominant performance as starter of the All Star Game some people questioned Harvey's desire to be under the NY spotlight as he was a 24 year old sophomore. What did Harvey do? He comes out of the bullpen averages nearly 98 mph on his fastball(including what felt like 8 straight at above 99 miles an hour) and destroyed the Philies over 7 innings. Besides pitching, Harvey also excels at proving his doubters wrong, as he did all through college and the minors when he was dubbed "Pelfrey without the split or breaking ball" by a scout. This didn't make much sense because Mike Pelfrey didn't have much of either. So I am confident that he will return from this surgery guns blazing.
Anyways, like most of us I think that even without Harvey this team can be solid if a few bats are added. So I want to spend this fanpost talking about possible starters we can sign for Harvey. Of course none of the guys we can acquire can be viewed as "replacements" unless you propose trading everyone in our farm and Jeff Wilpon for Clayton Kershaw.
Bronson Arroyo: Arroyo has been the definition of dependability and he has 9 straight years of 199+ innings pitched. However he is 36 and people are suggesting that he may get as much as a 3 year deal. Arroyo reminds me a lot of Shuan Marcum stuff-wise without the injury problems. If he wants to come here on a 1 or 2 year deal at about 10 million a year then it would be acceptable but anything more than that in years or dollars would be a risk.
Bartolo Colon: He may be 40 years old but the man can pitch as evidenced by his 141 ERA+ this year. He could be a value sign for a 1 year deal. He has plenty left in the tank as evidenced by his average fastball velocity this year of 93 miles an hour.
Josh Johnson: Most people will look at his numbers are recoil as he posted a 6.20 ERA this year. However if you dig a bit deeper you will see that his xFIP was 3.58. Also his BABIP was .356, a mark that is likely to shoot way down to his career mark of .302. Furthermore, his strikeout rate was the highest of his career and his walk rate was a tad above his career norms. Johnson's HR/9 this year was astronomical and one has to believe that will change moving from Rogers Centre to Citi Field. Johnson is an injury risk and his fastball has gotten a bit slower over the last 2 years(although averaging 93 mph is more than enough velocity to get it done) but Johnson could be a very smart signing because he is a strong candidate to rebound. Furthermore from 2009-2011(when he got hurt) Johnson was one of the best pitchers in baseball. For a 1 year value re-establishing deal this would be an excellent sign.
Tim Lincecum: "The Freak" was the best pitcher in baseball from 2008-2011 but his stats fell off a cliff these last two years. Lincecum's command comes and goes and he no longer possesses an upper 90's fastball but Lincecum still has plenty of stuff to succeed. The question with him is whether he can consistently find the strikezone. His xFIP this year was 3.56 so there is a chance that he rebounds. Furthermore he would undoubtedly draw crowds to Citi Field. In my opinion Lincecum would be a decent 1 or 2 year risk to take but in my mind he is too risky to give 3+ years or big dollars to.
Hiroki Kuroda: This is an interesting case as Kuroda can most definitely pitch as evidenced by his above 120 ERA+ each of the last three years. He faded a bit at the end of last year but I think he would be a strong candidate to give a 1 year deal to and then flip at the deadline when our young pitchers such as Syndergaard are ready to go.
Let's talk about a few intriguing pitchers in the Mets system. Although he is no longer a prospect, I will begin by discussing Jenrry Mejia. In my mind Mejia has earned a spot in next year's rotation. He showed command as well as 2 or 3 above average to plus secondary pitches to complement his nasty cutter. He is an injury risk but if he shows up healthy to spring training he should definitely have a spot in the rotation.
Rafael Montero: Montero is an intriguing prospect. Undersized, at just 6 foot and 170 pounds, Montero has taken the world by storm by jumping all the way up the mets system in just two years. His stats this year were dominant with a 2.43 ERA and a 7.20 k/bb ration at Double A Binghamton. Further more he posted a sterling 3.05 ERA despite a rough start in one of the most hostile pitching environments in the minors: Triple A Las Vegas. Montero has enough stuff to get by with a 92-94 mph fastball which touches 95 and above. He also possess a decent changeup and breaking ball with the changeup being the more advanced of the two pitches. Paired with plus plus command, Montero can be a number 3 starter in the majors for years to come if he stays healthy. Furthermore, he is just 22 so if one of his offspeed pitches takes the next step forward he can be even more than a number 3 starter.
Noah Syndergaard: The legend of Thor grew with each start this year. The 6'6" Syndergaard was solid at Advanced A St. Luice but he took the world by storm at Double A Binghamton. At just 20 years old, Thor posted a 1.54 ERA as well as a crazy strikeout to walk ratio over his first 10 starts as the youngest pitcher in the Eastern League. His 10th start was incredible as Thor allowed 3 hits, no walks, and struck out 10 over 5 innings, needing just 66 pitches to do it. Syndergaard also made Miguel Sano look foolish in two at bats that game. Although rust skewed his overall stats, as Thor's last start came on the heels of 9 days which led to him giving up 9 runs over a tad more than 3 innings, Syndergaard posted a dominant season with a 11.5 strikeout ratio and 2.0 walk ratio, the latter being almost unheard of by a power pitcher in his age 20 season. With a fastball that routinely touches the upper 90's as well as a curveball that will be a plus pitch, Thor has every chance of being a dominant ace especially if his change up keeps developing. (BP put his changeup as a future 60 grade pitch and they talked to a scout who said it had a chance of being more). Syndergaard is a beast and I look forward to seeing him pitch in Flushing next year.
So what do you guys think? Who should join Wheeler, Niese, Gee, and Mejia in next year's opening day rotation?
Well that's all! Despite the Harvey news I still think we can compete next year with a few savvy signings. The future is undoubtedly bright in Queens! Let's Go Mets!