My Perspective on Matt Harvey’s Struggles Thus Far

Matt Harvey has not looked like himself at all thus far in the 2016 season. His velocity has been down, his mechanics are just off, and he can’t finish late in games. He has allowed 2 or more ER’s in all eight of his starts this season. He also hasn’t gone further than six innings in a single start, yet he has topped 100 pitches in five of eight starts. His walks rate is up, and his strike out rate is down from his career averages.

Harvey is known to get off to a good start early in games. The first time though the order, Harvey has dominated hitters to a slash line of .218/.244/.308. The second time through the order hitters have a slash line of .211/.242/.351. These numbers are vintage Harvey, that’s lockdown numbers and the numbers you would expect from an ace. The third time through the order, mainly innings 4-6, Harvey is a completely different story, we see a completely different pitcher. All of a sudden all the hitters he was just dominating turn into All-Stars. The numbers aren’t pretty, .372/.444/.538, that isn’t something you would expect to see out of Harvey.

Harvey struggling late in games is obviously a sign of fatigue. With fatigue comes a major dip in velocity, as you lose strength, and are just more tired. Hitters also just start to see your stuff better the more times they see you in a game. According to SI.com, Harvey averages a fastball velocity of 95-96 MPH, by the 4th, 5th, and 6th innings, his velocity sits around 94 MPH. This may seem like much pf a difference, but for a guy like Harvey who relies on that overpowering fastball of his so much, this is a major dip.

The main problem I have with this velocity dip, is that it just doesn’t seem to explain why he is getting hit so hard. Jacob DeGrom is going through a velocity dip as well but he isn’t struggling nearly as bad as Harvey is. There has to be something mechanically wrong with Matt, he must be telegraphing his pitches is some shape or form. Harvey and Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen have studied the film and found a “part of his delivery that needs to get fixed.” Specifically, Warthen said that Harvey’s arm slot has gotten a lot higher this year.

Manager Terry Collins said of Harvey, “when you’re not doing it the way you know you can do it, it’s a struggle. Hopefully it’s better this next time out.”

 

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