Does the season hang on Matt Harvey? We seem to think that Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom will be both healthy and dominant. And while we haven’t projected Steven Matz yet, it’s probably safe to assume that not many will be throwing out 200 IP seasons for him. So, can Harvey recover from his surgery and be the guy he was in 2015, when he contributed 189.1 IP at a 2.71 ERA? Or is he destined to have another 2016, where he gave neither quality nor quantity? Here are our individual forecasts:
There’s more variability here, both in terms of innings and ERA, than there was for either Syndergaard or de Grom. Still, my expectation was that someone would have him failing to reach triple digits in innings or with an ERA in the fours and we don’t see that. A big surprise is Dalton expecting Harvey to surrender 30 homers, which is the number he allowed in 65 starts over 2012, 2013 and 2015, combined. Hands down the biggest surprise is Matt expecting him to reach 215 innings and pitch spectacularly in those.
Here’s what the group thinks Harvey will do in 2017:
That’s pretty close to a full season at pretty much a #2 SP level of quality. This time last year we projected 201 IP and a 2.75 ERA and that one didn’t quite come to pass. It feels a tad optimistic to me but it’s understandable, as we all have a special place in our heart for Harvey and know what he can do if he’s healthy. But what do the cold-hearted computer models say? Take a look:
Yeah, the computer models aren’t nearly so optimistic. But that’s not a surprise, either. In two of the last three years he’s been far short of glorious, having missed the 2014 season and then last year’s injury-shortened season with poor results. The computers don’t know Harvey went under the knife and the humans have no idea if or how quickly he’ll be able to bounce back from the TO surgery. And when you come right down to it, no one should be really surprised with whatever Harvey produces this year.
The ZiPS comp for Harvey is Dick Ruthven and boy it hurt to read that and it hurt again to type it. Ruthven pitched in the majors for 14 years but outside of 1978 and 1980, he was mostly forgettable. That is if you forget that he was a member of the Phillies in the late 70s-early 80s who used to beat us like a drum and also a member of the 1984 Cubs. Ruthven didn’t have great results against the Mets – it’s more of a guilty-by-association thing. Hopefully Harvey comes back at full strength in 2017 and thoughts of ever having him in the same sentence with Ruthven become laughable.