Tracking Matt Harvey's Season: Start #23, PITCHf/x data and GIFs

Mike Stobe

Matt Harvey's twenty-third start of the season, his first complete-game shutout, was one of the best starts of his spectacular young career.

Perhaps it's appropriate that Matt Harvey threw his first complete-game shutout in his thirty-third start of his major league career. The 24-year-old threw just 106 pitches in the effort against the Colorado Rockies in his twenty-third start of this season. He struck out six, walked none, and gave up just four hits. For his career, Harvey has thrown 219.0 innings with a 2.26 ERA, 2.34 FIP, 248 strikeouts, and 55 walks.

PITCHf/x DATA (via Brooks Baseball)

Pitch Type Avg Speed Max Speed Count Strikes / % Whiffs / %
FA (Fastball) 96.14 99.30 63 45 / 71.43% 10 / 15.87%
CH (Changeup) 87.39 88.91 8 6 / 75.00% 1 / 12.50%
SL (Slider) 90.32 92.76 22 15 / 68.18% 4 / 18.18%
CU (Curveball) 84.61 86.23 13 12 / 92.31% 4 / 30.77%

Although he struck out just six Rockies hitters, Harvey still missed bats at an incredible rate on Wednesday night. With 19 whiffs on his 106 pitches, Harvey had a 17.9 swinging strike rate on the evening. As usual, Harvey used his slider as his primary offspeed weapon. Both the slider and the curve were great, as he threw them for strikes and got a few whiffs from each. And his fastball was nothing to sneeze at, even though he was throwing it a little slower than usual. And yes, an average fastball of 96.14 miles per hour is a little on the slow side for Harvey.

The plot below shows that Harvey was getting swinging strikes all over the zone and outside of it.

GIFs

Strikeout 1: Charlie Blackmon, swinging

Strikeout 2: Dexter Fowler, swinging

Strikeout 3: Todd Helton, looking

Strikeout 4: Jhoulys Chacin, swinging

Strikeout 5: Todd Helton, swinging

Strikeout 6: Wilin Rosario, "swinging"

WHERE HARVEY RANKS IN THE NATIONAL LEAGUE

There are two concerns when it comes to Harvey's shot at the Cy Young this year: He's slightly trailing Clayton Kershaw in ERA, and he's eventually going to hit an innings limit. He's been so good that he still ranks atop the Fangraphs board in WAR, but Kershaw and Adam Wainwright could end up with a stronger case for the award if they pitch almost as well as Harvey over a span of more innings.

ERA FIP K% BB% SwStr%
Harvey 2.09 1.99 29.3 4.8 13.0
NL Rank 2nd 1st 1st 6th 1st
NL Avg. SP 3.86 3.82 19.0 7.4 8.7

HARVEY IN METS HISTORICAL CONTEXT

The twenty-third start was a great one for all of the Mets pitchers below, but Harvey's season is still awfully impressive. Gooden's 1985 was one of the top pitching seasons of all time—his 229 ERA+ that year ranks 11th since 1901—but that doesn't make what Harvey's doing right now any worse.

Pitcher (Year) IP ERA K BB GSc
Matt Harvey (2013) 159.2 2.09 178 29 67
R.A. Dickey (2012) 162.1 2.72 166 36 63
Dwight Gooden (1985) 179.2 1.65 173 47 70
Tom Seaver (1973) 187.2 1.87 166 40 69
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