The first Harvey Day of the year is finally here. It’s been about a year-and-a-half since the last one, but each of those eighteen months felt just a little bit longer than that. And twelve of those months were spent without any Mets baseball at all, but the hope is that Harvey’s return to the team this year will make next offseason at least a little bit shorter.
When the Mets first called up Harvey in 2012, he almost seemed a little too good to be true. While his numbers were good in the minors, they didn’t jump off the page. But in those first ten starts in the big leagues, Harvey made it clear that strikeouts were his speciality. Sure, he walks opposing hitters a little too often, but that didn’t matter all that much since opposing hitters had a hard time doing much with those baserunners.
There was plenty of excitement about Harvey’s 2013 season before it began, though there was still something for him to prove at baseball’s highest level. He met that challenge pretty easily, of course, and silenced any doubts about whether or not he could match his performance from the previous fall by pitching even better. He was simply one of the best pitchers in the game, but his elbow unexpectedly gave out in late August.
With a long, steady arm rehabilitation under his belt, Harvey looked excellent in spring training games. Those games don’t count, but the stuff was there. As his season begins, it seems we shouldn’t question whether or not he can still be a great pitcher, but whether or not he can be even better this time around than he was the last time.