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2021 Baltimore Orioles: Matt Harvey Comeback

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With the 2021 Baltimore Orioles season around the corner, one intriguing name looking to re-establish his career is former Mets’ ace Matt Harvey. Harvey once sat at the top of a rotation with fellow aces Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard, but injuries have derailed his once-promising career. Now, he has a clear path to the starting rotation with the Baltimore Orioles and to perhaps revive his career.

2021 Baltimore Orioles: Matt Harvey

Matt Harvey: Early Career

Matt Harvey’s MLB career started in the 2010 draft when he was selected by the New York Mets with the seventh overall pick, four picks after the Baltimore Orioles selected Manny Machado. Harvey quickly made his way through the Mets’ system and was called up to the Majors in 2012 and would make his only All-Star game the following season. Despite his great season, his 2013 would end early with Tommy John Surgery.

After missing a year, Harvey returned to the Mets in 2015 and picked up right where he left off. He won the NL Comeback Player of the Year Award and helped to lead the Mets to the World Series. Unfortunately, the Mets would fall to the Royals and in particularly cruel fashion, Harvey surrendered a ninth-inning lead in the final game after convincing his manager, Terry Collins, to let him try and finish the shutout.

2015 looked like it would be the first in a long line of successes for Harvey; instead, he has struggled with injuries and performance in the following years. His 2016 ended with surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome and 2017 ended due to a stress fracture. Harvey also became a frequent face on the back pages of the local newspapers for his party lifestyle that was interfering with his ability to show up on time to meetings and practices.

His final season with the Mets came in 2018 and ended with his banishment to the bullpen and eventual trade to Cincinnati. Harvey struggled with the Reds and signed a one-year contract for 2019 with the Angels, worth $11 million, but would be released before the end of July. After spending some time with Oakland he moved to Kansas City and struggled in a few limited appearances in 2020.

Matt Harvey: The Oriole

Harvey signed with the Baltimore Orioles back in February on a minor league deal that will pay Harvey only one million dollars if he can make the major league roster. At the time, Harvey mentioned one of the reasons he chose to resurrect his career in Baltimore was due to the presence of pitching coach Chris Holt.

So far this spring, Harvey has pitched six innings with mixed results. In his first outing, the Blue Jays punished Harvey for leaving pitches out over the heart of the plate scoring three runs on four hits in only two innings. Harvey finished his day after throwing 26 pitches with no strikeouts and one hit by pitch. After the game, Harvey addressed his poor performance saying that he was “babying his offspeed” and that he needed to put more work into his craft.

Harvey’s second appearance has generated much more positive buzz for the Baltimore Orioles. This time facing the Pirates, Harvey pitched four innings, surrendering two runs on five hits. Meanwhile, he struck out four batters and yielded no walks. Furthermore, his velocity was touching 96 MPH and was frequently in the mid-90s. These games prove that Harvey can still tap into his former elite self and play a role for the 2021 Baltimore Orioles.

With the Baltimore Orioles trading Alex Cobb, there is little certainty in the Orioles rotation. With opportunities running out to revive his career, this may be Harvey’s last best shot of becoming a solid big league player. While it is likely he will never be the Ace he was early in his career with the Mets, Harvey could be on his way to a solid big league season.

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Main image credit: Embed from Getty Images

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