Tar Heels in the Pros: Matt Harvey

Considered to be one of the best young pitchers in the major leagues, Matt Harvey has been on fire this season as a starting pitcher for the New York Mets. He holds a 4-0 record, tied for first in Major League Baseball with his teammate Bartolo Colon and his 3.04 ERA is ranked 12th among pitchers with at least three winning starts this year.

Harvey was a standout pitcher in college, leading the Tar Heels to NCAA tournament appearances in all three years he was a part of the program. Deciding at the end of his junior campaign to forego his senior year at UNC, he was drafted seventh overall by the Mets in 2010.

Matt Harvey (UNC Athletics)

Matt Harvey with the Tar Heels (UNC Athletics)

After suffering a partially torn UCL in his right elbow in August of 2013, Harvey underwent Tommy John surgery and had to miss the entire 2014 MLB season. Being back on the mound this year as a star for the Mets has provided a spark for his team and has given Harvey a fresh perspective on the game he loves.

“Missing a year, I think definitely bring the freshness of being up here back. I’m definitely excited again to be playing and I think that goes back to 2012 and the beginning of 2013, just being excited to be out there and be with my teammates again and be able to put the Mets uniform is something that I know now not to take for granted,” Harvey says.

Harvey’s most recent win came against the Yankees last Saturday in which he allowed only 5 hits and 2 earned runs. He came one out shy of throwing a complete game before the Mets’ manager Terry Collins called reliever Carlos Torres from the bullpen, spoiling what could have been the first complete game of his young career. Recognizing that there is room for improvement, Harvey notes that it’s more about the win than his own statistics.

“You get into the 8th or 9th inning I think finishing the game is on your mind so it’s tough but I think at the same time I needed to do a better job of getting those last two guys out and that decision’s not hard to make. So he [Collins] obviously made the right call and brought in Carlos and he got the last out and we won the game so that’s all that matters,” Harvey says.

Harvey surveys home plate (Newyork.cbslocal.com

Harvey surveys home plate (Newyork.cbslocal.com

With his opponents’ batting average at .220 against him this season, Harvey hopes to continue his success as the Mets hold the best record in all of Major League Baseball at 15-5. He spoke before their game Sunday about what it will take to continue this upward trend for their ball club.

“I think just coming to the ballpark knowing we’re going to win, and we had that mentality in spring training, we knew we were going to be good, we knew we had a good pitching staff and we knew we were going to win a lot of games and to have that mentality going into the clubhouse and onto the field every day is half the battle,” Harvey says.

Harvey’s next appearance is scheduled for this Friday, May 1 in the first game of a home series against the Washington Nationals.

Visit us next week for another edition of “Tar Heels in the Pros” featuring NBA rising star, Harrison Barnes.


Harvey Sidelined With Tommy John Surgery

Photo Courtesy of New York Post

NEW YORK — Former UNC baseball pitcher Matt Harvey’s fears have been realized.

The New York Mets slinger won’t see any playing time for the 2014 season having undergone Tommy John surgery Tuesday to mend the torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.

Harvey decided this month to have the surgery before he could begin a throwing regimen. The recovery time for Tommy John surgery is usually 12-15 months.

Mets general manager Sandy Alderson says he understands the ace won’t be on the mound in 2014 and is exploring replacement options.


Former Heel Matt Harvey Proving Why He Should Start In MLB All-Star Game

Matt Harvey On The Mound For The Diamond Heels

CHAPEL HILL – UNC Alum turned pro-phenom Matt Harvey has been burning up the mound for the New York Mets in his first season in the major league. Outings like his efforts on Sunday against the Philadelphia Phillies, when he tossed six scoreless innings for an 8-0 shut out, have Harvey in the conversation to start for the National League in July 16 MLB All-Star Game.

If it goes his way, Harvey would be the first former Tar Heel pitcher in history to earn the honor.

Harvey’s fastball averaged a career-high 97.2 mph on Sunday, and he was praised for maintaining his velocity throughout the entire start. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Harvey threw 23 fastballs at 98 mph or faster during the game, the second most by a starter this season. The right hander has been impressive through 16 starts, on a 7-1 record, with a 2.05 ERA, 121 strikeouts, a 0.882 WHIP, 4 homers allowed and a .188 opponent batting average.

If Harvey were to get the start, it would be a historic day for several other reasons as well. Dwight Gooden was the last Met that started in an All-Star Game on the mound, all the way back in 1988. The contest is also being played in Citi Field, the home ball park for the Mets. The last pitcher to start on his home field was Roger Clemens in 2004 in Houston.

After a stand-out junior season at Carolina, Harvey was the seventh overall pick in the first round of the 2010 MLB Draft. He made his major league debut on July 26, 2012, for the Mets against the Arizona Diamondbacks. He set a franchise record for a pitching debut with 11 strikeouts.

Former Tar Heels to play in the All-Star game (started indicated):

Nate Andrews – 1944 (Reserve)

Brian Roberts – 2005 (Started at 2B), 2007 (Reserve)

Snuffy Stirnweiss – 1945 (DNP) 1946 (Reserve)

B.J. Surhoff – 1999 (Reserve)

Burgess Whitehead – 1935 (Reserve), 1937 (Reserve)

Walt Weiss – 1998 (Started at SS)