Matt Harvey hasn’t been the fireballer he once was this spring, and it’s been the topic of much discussion and even panic among Mets fans. While Harvey’s fastball regularly hit the high 90s before his injury, this spring it’s been topping out at around 93 mph. So is it time to ring the alarm? Not according to Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen.
Warthen spoke to Newsday’s Marc Carig, and was cautiously optimistic about Harvey’s progress. “He’ll probably have to pitch there for awhile,” Warthen told Carig. “Most history says that somewhere around 10 months out (of surgery) is when you get your full strength back.”
Harvey had surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome in July of 2016, which puts him only eight months out at this point. When asked about when he expects Harvey to reach his full velocity, Warthen said by the end of May. So while Mets fans may be worried now, they should give Harvey a couple of months before making any judgments.
It’s worth noting that Harvey has traditionally been a slow starter in terms of velocity throughout his career. A quick look at Fangraphs’ velocity charts for Harvey shows that his average fastball speed has tended to increase towards the middle of the season.
Even if his velocity doesn’t return to his pre-surgery highs, Harvey is confident that he can still be an effective pitcher. He recently told the New York Time’s James Wagner that “I’m not looking to throw 100 miles per hour again or 97 even. My job is to get people out no matter what I’m throwing.”