Extended scouting report: Matt Harvey, rhp, North Carolina
May 21, 2010 4 Comments
Harvey pairs obvious strength and a broad, sturdy frame suitable for heavy workloads. Although physically mature, he already possesses premium velocity that he can sustain deep into games, so a lack of projection is not an issue. Harvey has gained approximately 30 pounds since high school, and he has proven that the added bulk is functional by maintaining good body control throughout his delivery. He is limited athletically, but has nonetheless demonstrated the capacity to make mechanical adjustments as needed.
Harvey generates mid-90s velocity from a high three-quarters release point with relative ease. Plagued by mechanical inconsistency as a sophomore, Harvey now operates with a simpler and better-paced motion. Previously, he would rush toward home plate with a forceful stride, causing his arm to play “catch-up”, which produced varying release points and a cross-body finish. This season, he has shown more consistency in getting his pitching arm-side forearm to a vertical position as his glove-side foot lands. As a result, he has eliminated that cross-body action, increased his hip-shoulder separation, and improved his tempo, which explains why he is now pitching with the best velocity and fastball command since he arrived on campus. He has a tendency to pull his shoulder out as he swings his arm into the high-cocked position, making it more difficult than necessary to repeat his arm path, but suggesting that he could improve his command still further. The adjustments Harvey has made to this point are a testament to his work ethic and aptitude, which have been questioned in the past.
Harvey’s four-seam fastball sits in the 92-96 mph range and touches 98, but has proven very hittable over his college career because it lacks for life. This prompted he and pitching coach Scott Forbes to develop a two-seam fastball this spring, a heavy ball that arrives at 91-93 which he keeps in the lower-third of the zone. Harvey has relied on his two-seamer often – particularly late in games – to consistently generate weak contact and limit his pitch count, which helps explain why he has pitched deeper into games with greater frequency this season. His breaking pitch of choice is his slider, which comes in at 83-85 and flashes plus right now. The pitch gets good rotation and tilt when thrown well, but it will occasionally flatten out and give the appearance of a slow cutter. He has lost the feel for his power curveball, which had plus potential coming out of high school as a third-round pick of the Angels in 2007, often failing to stay on top of it and hanging way up in the zone. But he has previously demonstrated the requisite hand speed to spin a good one, so this degradation should just be temporary. Harvey exhibits feel for a changeup, a 79-83 offering with some tumble, although his motion is noticeably more deliberate from a side view.
Harvey’s combination of physicality, present velocity and potential stuff is tantalizing, but he is considered something of an underachiever because the results over three years in college didn’t match the talent. His past struggles can be mostly attributed to a lack of command (and at times, control), which, if resolved, could result in him becoming a No. 2 starter at his peak. Harvey’s track record indicates risk, but there is enough upside to warrant a top-10 overall selection.
OFP CLASS: Strong-average | DRAFT RECOMMENDATION: Top-10 overall selection
Courtesy: Nick James