Why Matt Harvey is the greatest what-if of all time in Mets franchise history

Matt Harvey

Matt Harvey / undefined

Matt HarveyWho announced his retirement on Friday, burst on the scene for the Mets You can also find out more about the following: Arizona The Countdown to the Election Diamondbacks On July 26, 2012, he started a rise which led to him taking over the All-Star Game in Citi Field one year later. New York The Dark Knight was adopted as a moniker.

Harvey was the dominant event in 2013 but there were also “Harvey’s better” chants at Citi Field As the Mets faced Stephen Strasburg Then, there is the Washington NationalsThere was also the game of bloody noses against the Chicago White Sox Harvey was almost perfect

Then, late in the 2013 season, Harvey was derailed by Tommy John surgery. Harvey’s second act was equally as spectacular as his debut.

Harvey returned from surgery in 2015 with a vengeance. That season ended soon after he left the mound at Citi Field in Game 5 of World Series after delivering the best postseason performance in franchise history.

This is the way that Game 5 of that series and against the Kansas City Royals What if? Without Jeurys Familia‘s quick-pitch in Game 1 and with some better defense in Game 4 and Game 5, it could’ve easily been the Mets winning in five games instead of the Royals.

Harvey’s Mets future is the most important what-if.

What would have been the outcome if he had remained healthy after 2015?

You could say that this was the biggest “what if” in Mets history.

Nov 1, 2015; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Matt Harvey reacts after striking out the side in the fourth inning in game five of the World Series against the Kansas City Royals at Citi Field.

New York City, NY (USA), Nov. 1, 2015. New York Mets pitcher Matt Harvey reacts to striking out the Kansas City Royals in the fourth inning of game five of World Series at Citi Field. Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sport

Before the screams come about Nolan RyanDavid WrightJacob deGrom. Dwight Gooden. Let’s just get this out the way…

The Mets traded Ryan in a foolish move. His career was never taken from him. So, he does not qualify as a “career what-if” the way Harvey qualifies.

Wright was a great player before injuries ended his career. Wright could have been on the path to Hall of Fame before his injuries, but Harvey was already on an all-time great track.

After two injury-plagued seasons, deGrom had not embraced the city. He did not want to stay. Even if the Mets match the offer from Texas RangersIt’s likely he would have bolted. It’s not the Mets what-if.

As far as Dwight Gooden What might have been if he had not struggled with substance abuse, we will never know. Even in 1986, the energy of his 1984/85 seasons had begun to fade.

But Harvey? Here’s what he did during his first three seasons with the Mets As he combined a fastball with a slider, changeup and curve, he threw a deadly combination.

Over 65 games, he has a 2.65 FIP and a 1.01 WHIP. He also has 449 strikeouts per 9 innings (9.5 per 9).

May 7, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Matt Harvey (33) pitches against the Chicago White Sox with a bloody nose during the first inning of a game at Citi Field.

May 7, 2013, New York, NY. Matt Harvey, starting pitcher for the New York Mets, pitches with a bloody sneeze against the Chicago White Sox during the first inning at Citi Field. / Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

These strikeout numbers don’t stand out, given how aggressive the league has been in striking out over the past half decade. But they’re better than what deGrom’s strikeout rate was over the first three years of his career when he whiffed 9.2 batters per nine.

And it’s the Harvey and deGrom pairing (Harvey is younger than deGrom, by the way) that makes what happened to Harvey so hard to swallow — and makes wondering what would’ve happened had he stayed healthy so tantalizing.

Harvey and deGrom shared the field for five seasons. Only one of these seasons saw Harvey playing with deGrom.

In 2015, the Mets were close to winning the World Series when Harvey, deGrom, Noah Syndergaard Led a renowned rotation.

Harvey’s life fell apart after that. It wasn’t just because he loved New York City too much.

It was his health that betrayed it. Thoracic Outlet surgery was the culprit that cost him his Hall of Fame status and sent him on an arduous road to retirement, including stints with underwhelming teams like the Cincinnati Reds, Los Angeles AngelsThe Kansas City Royals and the Baltimore Orioles.

Harvey was also suspended by MLB in May of 2022 following his disclosure of drug distribution during the trial of Eric Kay, who was found guilty of supplying drugs that led to the July 2019 death of Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs.

Apr 20, 2021; Miami, Florida, USA; Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Matt Harvey (32) delivers a pitch in the 2nd inning against the Miami Marlins at loanDepot park.
Miami, Florida (USA) – April 20, 2021: Baltimore Orioles pitcher Matt Harvey (32) pitches in the second inning against the Miami Marlins. Miami Marlins At loanDepot Park. / Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

When it comes to Harvey’s injuries, they began right after the 2015 season, when he threw 216 combined innings between the regular season and postseason as he threw innings limits out the window with the Mets on their World Series run.

What would have happened in 2016, 2017 and 2018 if Harvey had stayed healthy and the Mets formed a lethal rotation at the top with Harvey and deGrom at their peak?

Harvey would still be a Met if he were alive today.

Was he on his way to Cooperstown already?

Harvey was the best Mets pitcher that I’ve ever seen. His stuff, his emotion and the fact that he was the first glimmer after a half-decade of mediocrity for the Mets created something special.

Harvey has retired from the sport he loves. Mets fans need to remember all the excitement he brought them. They should also wonder what could have happened. And they should show him their admiration and support for the work he did in 2015.

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