The Mets traded starting pitcher Matt Harvey to the Reds. How will he perform for fantasy owners with his new team?
The New York Mets/Matt Harvey relationship took a sharp turn when management decided to move him to the bullpen. Once he announced his unhappiness, the Mets designated him for assignment. Instead of losing him and get nothing in return, they traded him to the Reds for catcher Devin Mesoraco. What impact does this have on fantasy?
The Reds rotation can use some improvements. Tyler Mahle has had some good and bad performances. Luis Castillo can’t put it together on a consistent basis. Homer Bailey still has a spot on the rotation.
Harvey won’t get much help pitching in Great American Ballpark, a very hitter-friendly park. It ranks first in home runs, 10th in runs and 14th in hits. It ranked 10th in home runs last year, according to ESPN Park Factors.
Harvey has been prone to giving up home runs. His HR/9 has been around 2.00 over the last two seasons. His fly ball rate has stayed near his 34.2 career average but the HR/FB skyrocketed over the last two years as well. Harvey’s allowed more hard contact in that span.
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This could all be a result of the lower velocity on his fastball and more reliance on his off-speed pitches. He was throwing close to 96 MPH in 2015 but it averaging just 92.6 MPH this season. His slider percentage went up while his curveball usage is down to three percent.
Harvey has not been healthy over the previous two seasons. He made 17 starts in 2016 and 18 in 2017. He underwent thoracic outlet surgery in 2016 but didn’t seem like his former self.
Harvey finished last season with a 6.70 ERA, 1.694 WHIP, 6.5 K/9 and 4.6 BB/9. With the injuries the Mets suffered over the last few seasons, including recently added Jason Vargas, the Mets needed to keep Harvey in the rotation.
This season, however, was more of the same. In his first four starts, he posted a 6.00 ERA, 1.438 WHIP, 17 strikeouts and four walks in 21.0 innings. His move to the bullpen didn’t change matters. In four appearances, he had a 10.50 ERA, 2.00 WHIP, three strikeouts and five walks in six innings.
In return, the Mets will now have Mesoraco behind the plate. With Travis d’Arnaud out with Tommy John surgery and Kevin Plawecki is dealing with a hairline fracture in his hand. The Mets used Jose Lobaton and Tomas Nido at catcher. Mesoraco will give the Mets a more consistent option, though he’s dealt with his own injuries throughout his career.
He’s played in just 19 games and has a .214 average, one home run, three RBIs and one run scored. With the lack of depth at catcher, he’ll get some attention. He’s owned in just 0.6 percent of ESPN leagues.
If you are looking to add a starting pitcher to your team, I would look elsewhere. Harvey is giving up too many runs and moving to the National League Central and Great American Ballpark is not going to help him. This is a trade better for real baseball than fantasy. Harvey will be back as a starter but may not have much success.