He’s on the over of Sports Illustrated. He has taken New York by storm. He has drawn comparisons from Tom Seaver to Dwight Gooden to Roger Clemens to Justin Verlander.
He has an ERA of 1.44, 0.73 WHIP, 62 K in 56.1 innings. He is the Mets pitching phenom, Matt Harvey.
We know he is here to stay – the only question now is, will he start the All-Star Game, taking place at Citifield in July? He is definitely the favorite, as well as the hometown hero, so it is in the bag, right? Well, just for kicks, lets throw around a few other names who could be on the mound for that first inning in Flushing, Queens.*
5. Adam Wainwright – 5-2, 2.30 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 55:4 K/BB
The standby for the St. Louis Cardinals, in his second year from Tommy John Surgery has an insane strikeout to walk ratio – a good indicator that his ERA and record could stay close to the same until July with the type of control that takes. He will be heading to his second career All-Star Game this year.
4. Madison Bumgarner – 4-1, 2.18 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 54:13 K/BB
The best of the great San Francisco Giants rotation this year, Bumgarner is showing similar K per BB as Wainwright, also while playing in the weak-hitting NL West. He plays in a pitcher’s ballpark and has missed bats more often than Wainwright this year, giving up 17 fewer hits in 5 fewer innings. He has never been to an All-Star Game in his 4 previous seasons.
3. Shelby Miller – 5-2, 1.58 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 51:11 K/BB
Miller, long a Cardinals super-prospect, and now rookie, has had close to the impressive start Harvey has had, even having his own 1-hitter on May 10. That was actually the second start this year he had only giving up a lone hit; he went 7 innings in his second start of the year with an accompanying 8 strikeouts. The major advantage Miller has over Harvey is the team around him – at 24-13, the Cards sit in 1st place of the NL Central and unlike the Mets, can provide a bit of run support for Miller (though they have only gone over 3 runs for him twice this year).
2. Clayton Kershaw – 3-2, 1.62 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 56:16 K/BB
Kershaw, the Dodgers ace, is probably the best pitcher in the NL and has the history to support that. He has the star power, which can never be overlooked when picking who will start the big game for MLB. While he has the 2nd best Wins-Above-Replacement in the NL, he plays for the largely under-performing Dodgers, who like the Mets, cannot score. This will hurt his record, as it has so far.
1. Jordan Zimmermann – 7-1, 1.69 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, 39:9 K/BB
Zimmermann does not possess the best strikeout potential, nor plays for an elite team (the Nationals are only 4 games over .500 in the NL Least, featuring the Phillies, Mets, and Marlins), but he has been a workhorse for the Nats, compiling the most innings pitched in the NL and plain and simply, winning games (Lance Lynn is the only pitcher within two wins of him). He will probably be the biggest threat to Harvey going forward.
Dark Horse: Patrick Corbin – 5-0, 1.75 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 36:12 K/BB
The baby faced, 2nd-year Corbin is the guy from out of nowhere. The Arizona Diamondbacks have yet to lose a game he has started, going 7-0 themselves. He has yet to give up more than 2 runs in any start and has given up the least runs of any kind in the NL. Against him are both stats [he has the 10th best WAR and worst of the pitchers considered here] and anonymity [he was not even a full-time starter for the Diamondbacks in his first year, 2012, going 6-8 with a 4.54 ERA in a forgetful season]. He will have to keep up his undefeated streak and give up minimal runs going forward to make up for this and his low amount of strikeouts.
So those are the candidates. Will any of them catch up to Harvey?
*Stats as of the afternoon of 5/14