While the New York Mets have already come out and said that they don’t expect Matt Harvey to break camp with the club, expectations can sometimes be exceeded. Spring has hardly sprung and while I know the team will take every precaution with their young pitchers, I would love to see their more promising prospects force the issue as the season approaches. Matt Harvey may be taking aim at just that as club’s 2nd ranked prospect according to Baseball America was turning heads in Port St. Lucie today. Here’s what those in attendance had to say:
Impressed as onlookers and coaches may be, the team’s approach with Harvey isn’t likely to change. As a fan I plan to enjoy watching the trio of Harvey, Wheeler, and Familia progress through the minors and earn their shot at a spot in the rotation, whenever that might be. These are the guys that make Spring Training fun for me to follow and it’s hard to remember the last time there was so much buzz surrounding young pitchers in the Mets system. O.K., maybe it’s not that it’s hard to remember, it’s just that I choose not to recall the fall of Generation K.
As David Lennon of Newsday recently wrote, the Mets are intent on making sure history does not repeat itself this time around.
Jason Isringhausen, Bill Pulsipher and Paul Wilson were supposed to be the saviors, just like Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry a decade before them. As it turned out, the splashy nickname was the best thing about that injury-ravaged pitching trio, which amassed a grand total of 31 wins — including 21 by Isringhausen — and never materialized into the dominant rotation everyone dreamed it would be.
Fast-forward to 2012 and the Mets are preparing for the next generation, though attaching the K this time probably is out of the question. Still, Zack Wheeler, Matt Harvey and Jeurys Familia are the physical embodiment of hope for this wayward franchise.
Like the trio’s arrival in the majors, a nickname can wait. The pressure of carrying the future of the Mets on their shoulders is something these young pitchers are trying to block out at this stage.
“I can’t think about that,” said Harvey, the seventh overall pick in the 2010 draft. “I’ve got to do what I can do. I’ve got to play baseball just like I’ve always played, do everything I can do on the field, and whatever happens happens. It’s not my decision. I can control what I do.”
The Mets have no immediate plans to promote any of the three this season, but there already is a camaraderie building at the lower levels. When Familia showed up at the minor-league clubhouse last week for early workouts, Harvey embraced him with a big welcoming bear hug.
“I’m really excited to be in that group,” Familia said. “I’ve worked very hard to be with those guys.”
I definitely believe that allowing these pitchers to develop and grow together as teammates in the minors will pay dividends when the reach Queens. They can lean on each other through the ups and downs of their experiences and a little competition for the spot light can’t be a bad thing. Only time will tell how successful Matt Harvey and crew will be but for now, it’s hard to argue with the plan the team has laid out for their youngsters. After all, there’s nothing wrong with a club that aims to learn from it’s mistakes.
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