It didn’t take long for people to hop aboard the comeback train for New York Mets pitcher Matt Harvey. His performance during his first spring inning Wednesday was all they needed to believe.
Harvey turned in a solid performance during his 2018 spring debut, allowing one run on two hits over two innings. He struck out two and walked one.
It wasn’t a perfect outing, but that’s to be expected. It’s his first spring start, so there are going to be hiccups.
But, if you reflect on the positives Harvey displayed, it’s easy to talk yourself into a bounce back season for the former ace. Harvey’s first inning, in particular, provided optimism for Mets fans.
13-pitch first for Harvey. Two strikeouts, both looking. Primarily sat 92-94 but dialed it up to 96 at one point.
— Matt Ehalt (@MattEhalt) February 28, 2018
There’s a lot to like there. Harvey was efficient with his pitches and dominant in his results. Not only that, but his velocity looked pretty strong. Those are all good things.
It’s worth noting Harvey’s velocity was pretty good last season, and the 28-year-old still posted a 6.70 ERA over 92 2/3 innings in 2017.
However, there’s a big difference between averaging 94 mph on your fastball in September, and coming out and hitting that number in February. Pitchers tend to gain velocity as the year progresses, so seeing Harvey average 92-94 mph in his first spring start, while peaking at 96 mph, seems promising.
Harvey’s performance will be scrutinized more than ever this spring. He’s coming off two subpar seasons and the team hired former Cleveland Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway to help turn the team’s promising staff around. If Harvey can’t improve under Callaway, it’s fair to wonder whether he’ll ever come close to re-capturing his old form.
It was a good first step. While Harvey still has a long way to go, it’s encouraging to see him flash some of the skills that made him exciting before injuries struck.
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Chris Cwik is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik