Once the New York Mets ace who dominated in the World Series just a few years ago, pitcher Matt Harvey will now find himself in a new role after a dramatic fall in his career trajectory. The 29-year-old, who from 2012-2015 recorded a 2.53 ERA, 2.65 FIP and struck out 26.6 percent of the batters he faced in his first 65 starts, now is out of New York's rotation indefinitely.
It's certainly a fall from grace given where he used to be, but a decision needed to be made and New York made the right call. In his last 22 starts dating back to the beginning of the 2017 season, the Mets have received vastly more negatives and subsequent losses when Harvey took the mound. In 113 2/3 innings pitched, the righty surrendered 136 hits, 51 walks, 25 home runs and an unsightly 6.57 ERA with a 5.15 SIERA.
Whether you wanted to call him a home run machine (20.7 percent HR/FB rate) or criticize his inability to miss bats (6.3 percent K-BB rate), Harvey was dreadful in every aspect you could imagine for a pitcher. New York held some hopes he could turn things around in 2018 but four starts later, his 6.00 ERA and four home runs allowed in 21 innings proved to be too much.
Once one of the game's elite pitchers, Tommy John surgery in 2013 and then a 2016 surgery to relieve the thoracic outlet syndrome in his pitching shoulder, major surgery has doomed a once brilliant career path. As a result of multiple surgeries, Harvey saw at least a two mile per hour drop in his fastball, slider, curveball and changeup since he entered the majors and nearly a three mile per hour drop since 2015.
A move to the bullpen doesn't even the offer the optimism for Harvey with the idea that he only has to face the same hitters once. In his first time through the batting order last season, Harvey surrendered a .282/.375/.496 slash line and .372 wOBA to opposing hitters, but it got worse this year. Of the 36 batters he faced the first time through the order, Harvey allowed a .294/.353/.677 and .431 wOBA.
It's very difficult to find any room for optimism in the case of Harvey. A small shine of light is the improved command this season with a 13.8 percent K-BB rate and just four walks allowed across 94 batters faced. Unfortunately, even that small flicker of light comes with questions as his swinging strike rate sat below eight percent on the season and he threw a first-pitch strike just 58.5 percent of the time.
Maybe some time out of the rotation and in the bullpen to tweak his mechanics or work on his pitches will fix something. Unfortunately, the outlook right now paints a picture of a once great pitcher whose career fell off the tracks and will never regain even a fraction of the form we once saw. Matt Harvey is far from a bust, he is just an unfortunate reminder of how quickly things can change in this game we love.
If you still roster Harvey in fantasy baseball for any reason, it's time to say farewell.