Matt Harvey Injury: Why Mets Will Be Fine Without Star Pitcher
The New York Mets entered the 2016 MLB season with high hopes of winning a World Series. They made it that far a year ago, and with pitching ace Matt Harvey ready to enter his second straight healthy season, there was realistic optimism the Mets could return to finish what they started.
No More Harvey
If they do, it won’t be with Harvey. Per Matt Harvey’s agent, Scott Boras, the star pitcher will be shut down for the remainder of the season to address a pinched nerve that is hindering his ability to throw at a high level.
— VICE Sports (@VICESports) July 8, 2016
The exact injury is described as “thoraic outlet syndrome”, which involves muscles from Harvey’s neck and shoulder affecting a nerve in his shoulder that is keeping him from sustaining full strength in his pitching arm.
Per Boras, a short-term fix of injections was not a real option, as this problem needed surgery and the club wanted to make sure it was addressed to have Harvey back to 100% for 2017:
“The only way this is going to be treated appropriately — and obviously we don’t want to do anything to affect next year — is to get this surgically taken care of.”
The prognosis for Harvey’s long-term health is understandably up in the air, as this would be his second major surgery in the past three years. Harvey returned from a serious arum surgery in 2015 and was highly successful for long stretches, but also appeared to max out his innings limit.
Matt Harvey in 2015 threw the most innings in a season (216) of any pitcher in history returning from Tommy John surgery (incl. postseason)
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 8, 2016
It’s possible that much of a workload in his first year back hindered him, and when Harvey’s return numbers are put up against past pitchers coming back from a serious arm surgery, it’s rather startling how mismanaged he may have been.
New York’s World Series Odds
As bad as losing Matt Harvey looks on paper, it actually could be a plus for the Mets, who remain just three games back behind the Washington Nationals for first place in the NL East.
The reality is, whether this nerve issue was the reason behind Harvey’s shake 2016 or not, he was more of a hindrance to New York this season than a help.
Despite Harvey’s lack of positive help this year, the Mets still boast one of the best overall defenses, are in position to win their division and could still make a deep run at a title.
Losing a healthy Harvey is bad, but Harvey wasn’t healthy or himself for much of the year. This absolutely puts more pressure on the likes of Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz and Jacob de Grom, but it also gives some other pitchers a chance to crack the rotation and help chip in something better than what Harvey was mustering.
Overall, this gives New York a shot at getting the real Matt Harvey back for 2017 and it allows them to put forth a fully healthy starter in his place. The Mets still need to get healthy and more consistent on offense, but Harvey’s exit actually can be seen as a good thing at the moment.
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