Matt Harvey‘s season did not get off to the best of starts, though some of the blame can be placed on his fielders. His Opening Night performance figures to be one of his weaker outings of 2016. Jacob deGrom gets his turn at the home opener on Friday as his team raises its National League Championship banner. These two names will be linked together as the seeds for what hopes to be a renaissance of New York Mets’ baseball. The question for today is: which of these guys is your man?
Let’s leave Noah Syndergaard out of this discussion for now. He hasn’t pitched a full season in the Majors yet so while the expectation is that he will have just as fine (or better) career as Harvey and deGrom, let’s have him go through a complete season first. The same goes for Steven Matz. Can we at least see a more thorough body of work at the Major League level before we anoint him as a future Hall of Famer? Syndergaard can be in this discussion at this time next year and Matz the following season but for now, let’s leave it at Harvey and deGrom.
Back to the matter at hand. Harvey is usually thought of the guy with the highest upside. He is supposed to be the ace, the pitcher with the attitude and toughness that is supposed to lead a New York pitching staff. He started the All-Star Game in 2013 at Citi Field and has the fancy nickname, “The Dark Knight”. Harvey is the celebrity, the one with the hashtag on the day he makes his starts. He is the guy that is out on the streets of New York, taking in a Rangers game or at an event with some beautiful lady. Harvey has also clashed with Mets’ management in the past and was at the forefront of that embarassing episode last Fall regarding innings limit. Earlier this month, he was shown to be particularly sensitive when that bladder issue surfaced and the New York tabloids had some fun at his expense. Despite these hiccups, Harvey is still looked upon as a superstar, a guy that puts fannies in the seats.
deGrom, on the other hand hardly looks the part of a big pitcher, with his wiry frame and flowing locks. Yet, you can make the argument that he actually has built the better resume at this point. It is deGrom that won the Rookie of the Year Award in 2014. While Harvey started a Mid-Summer Classic, it was deGrom’s performance at last year’s All-Star Game, a ten pitch masterpiece with fastballs topping out at 98 MPH that is much more memorable. His 9.5 strikeouts per nine innings is slightly better than Harvey’s 9.4 while his WHIP (Walks + Hits Per Innings Pitched) of 1.047 is barely higher than Harvey’s 1.010. Plus, while deGrom had a brief skirmish with management over money this offseason, he is not considered a prima donna like Harvey.
I suppose choosing one pitcher or another comes down to taste. If you like your pitcher to be a bulldog and brash, you might favor Harvey. If you dig a laid back personality, deGrom is probably your man. Together, the two of them might quite the dynamic duo. So if you had to choose one to remain a Met for life, who would it be?