The Mets' ace improved his pacing and stamina to blank the Rockies on Wednesday night.
The Wednesday Takeaway Matt Harvey has enjoyed a rather spectacular first year in the majors, but somehow, the Mets ace had never shut out a team before Wednesday night (though he did throw nine scoreless on May 7 in a game it took the Mets 10 innings to win). He emphatically ended that drought against the Rockies, puzzling hitters throughout nine innings as New York earned a 5-0 victory. Though the National League’s current strikeout leader didn’t put up his usually gaudy total in that category, fanning just six batters, this performance was a real gem.
The right-hander never looked uncomfortable as the Rockies struggled to muster anything offensively, failing to get a runner into scoring position until the ninth inning. Harvey can be excused for that, too, considering the only reason Charlie Blackmon got to second base was fielder’s indifference prior to the game’s final out. Needing to get that last batter to complete the shutout, Harvey forced Troy Tulowitzki to pop up to second base.
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How does the first calendar year of Matt Harvey's career stack up to those of other fast starters?
On Friday night, Matt Harvey held the Nationals to one unearned run over eight innings, walking one and striking out seven to lower his ERA to 2.11. That outing closed the book on his first calendar year in the majors; the previous July 26th, Harvey had debuted against the Diamondbacks, holding them scoreless for 5 1/3 and fanning 11. There’s no particular reason to draw a line after a pitcher’s first calendar year—it’s not a completely arbitrary endpoint, but it’s close—but compartmentalizing helps us humans make sense of things. So with Matt Harvey mania in full swing, the one-year mark seems like as good a time as any to see how Harvey stacks up historically, and what that might mean.
This is a list of the best first calendar years for pitchers since 1950, sorted by PWARP. That’s just the pitching component of WARP, so Harvey doesn’t get credit for the extra half win or so he earned by going 6-for-18 at the plate last season. (He’s 5-for-48 this year.) Debut year age is seasonal age, or age as of July 1 of each player's rookie season. Fair RA is a measure of pitching quality scaled to run average, not ERA, and considers sequencing, base-out state, batted-ball distribution, and team defense. Fair RA+ is Fair RA relative to the league; 100 is league average, so the higher the number, the better. Each pitcher’s career PWARP is included on the right.
Did the starters and relievers who worked in the Futures Game and the All-Star Game enjoy velocity bumps? Harry digs into the PITCHf/x data for the answer.
Pitching ruled the All-Star break. The Futures Game featured a gaggle of power arms and a grand total of six runs. And that was twice the output of the main event, where the National League's best failed to score a run. Mariano Rivera made an emotional appearance. And, in the Home Run Derby, Ron Harper showed off a cutter of his own.
I have a confession to make: I think the Futures Game is the best part of the All-Star break.
One of baseball's most dominant pitchers versus baseball's worst batters.
PECOTA ran a bit more than 1,000 hitter projections for 2013. The worst line it forecast was a .177/.205/.245 line from Elier Hernandez, an 18-year-old who had just hit .208/.256/.280 in short-season ball. The next worst was for Gabriel Rosa, who had just hit .245/.314/.406 in the Arizona instructional league, and who was forecast to hit .171/.200/.251. The average pitcher this year has hit .133/.162/.180, well below either player’s forecast.
So let’s take PECOTA’s word for it, and accept that major-league pitchers are, generally, worse hitters than every hitter in the majors, and every hitter in the high minors, and if not every hitter in the low minors then most. Let’s say they’re worse than every hitter in Nippon Professional Baseball, and every hitter in the Mexican League. Let’s further assume that they’re worse than a large number of hitters who have washed out of the minors because, through positional inflexibility and unsexy ages and generally limited upside and utility, are no longer allowed to take up organizational space—all the Eddy Martinez Esteves out there. How many is that? Around 500 big leaguers, around 3,000 minor leaguers, no fewer than 1,000 players scattered around foreign professional leagues, certainly dozens if not more college kids, a handful of extremely advanced high schoolers, and the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Eddy Martinez-Esteve desaparicidos. Let’s say that your average pitcher is the 10,000th-best hitter in the world.
Dissecting three matchups between two of baseball's most must-watch players.
On Friday, the pitcher with the second-best ERA in the NL took on the batter with the second-most home runs in the NL. Neither player was old enough to drink remember the TV show California Dreams. Because of the first sentence, and because of the second sentence, the two players might be the most Flip to Their Game players in baseball right now. Who would win the three matchups between Bryce Harper and Matt Harvey? Please don’t say “all of us,” please don’t say “all of us,” please don’t say “all of us,” please don’t say “all o
The two were drafted in the same first round, and the two debuted in the majors within a couple months of each other, so as you might imagine, they played in the same league a couple times as they moved up the ladder. Harper and Harvey both played in the Double-A Eastern League during the second half of 2011, and both played in the Triple-A International League to start the 2012 season. While they were in Triple-A, they faced off at least once, the video tells us. The super sexy conclusion: