New York Mets fans won’t have much to cheer about in 2014. Their ace starter Matt Harvey will undergo Tommy John surgery later this month to repair a partial tear of his ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow.
Given that the recovery time is generally between 12 to 15 months, he is all but certain to miss the entire 2014 season. The Mets shut down Harvey in late August with the hope that with rest he could avoid the surgery, but this was not to be.
Harvey was a bright spot for an otherwise dismal Mets team in 2013. In his first full season in the majors, Harvey went 9-5 with a sparkling 2.27 ERA which was third in the NL behind only rookie Jose Fernandez of the Miami Marlins and Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers. In 178 1/3 innings pitched, Harvey struck out 191 while walking only 31 batters. As with his ERA, his strikeouts totals were third in the NL behind only Philadelphia Phillies lefty Cliff Lee and Kershaw. The 24-year old righthander was named the National League’s starting pitcher in the 2013 All-Star Game which was hosted by the Mets.
The Mets finished 22 games back of the Atlanta Braves in the NL East this season. It will likely get worse next year. But a little more short term pain could bring long term gain. Harvey will be back in 2015 and by 2016, he and Zack Wheeler could be the best one two punch in MLB. The best is yet to come.