No time like the present to appreciate Matt Harvey and David Wright
It's pretty revealing, that video of Matt Harvey (via the Jimmy Fallon Show) out in New York interviewing New Yorkers about Matt Harvey.
For all the joy Harvey has given the New York Mets' fan base this year, it is easy to forget that he has only been pitching for the Mets for just under a full calendar year, having debuted last July 26.
The fact is that there aren't a lot of people overall who have taken the time since he came up to watch Matt Harvey, or the Mets in general.
So Tuesday night's All-Star Game, which Harvey will start for the National League, will be the first time many fans get a look at him.
The Mets have other promising pitching prospects at or near major league level. There's Zack Wheeler, who debuted last month, and had his best command in his most recent start last Wednesday. There's Noah Syndergaard, off to a roaring start in Double-A, who wowed fans at the Futures Game at Citi Field on Sunday. And there's Rafael Montero, who started opposite Syndergaard Sunday, and is currently toiling for Triple-A Las Vegas.
But they're still prospects, with all the uncertainty that entails.
Harvey doesn't belong in their class, anyway, and hasn't for some time. The dominance Harvey exhibited in 2012 had only been matched by some of the game's finest pitchers. And then, in 2013, he got even better.
It is tempting to project Matt Harvey's future, picture a Baseball-Reference.com page filled with eye-popping numbers repeating what he's already done for the next decade-plus. It is the nature of baseball fandom to surround Harvey in our minds with supporting players in the rotation, just as the current roster invites us, by necessity, to do the same around David Wright.
Wright, too, is in a different category. He's actually logged that decade everyone is imagining for Harvey already, and he's playing at a level that few have ever reached at his position. Through age 30, in case you've forgotten (and through his constant presence, some apparently have), here's the list of third basemen, through age 30, with a higher O.P.S.+ than Wright: Eddie Mathews, Wade Boggs, Mike Schmidt, Chipper Jones, George Brett. That's four Hall of Famers and a shoo-in, in Jones, when he's eligible.
And lest you think this is the result of Wright's early-career success, since like Harvey, Wright came up and immediately played like a finished product, his 154 O.P.s.+ this season would be a career-high mark, while 2012's 144 is second-best in his career among full seasons, trailing only 2007's 149.
There's no telling how long Wright's dominance will overlap with Harvey's, given the differing ages, and given the added instability brought on by the owners' financial problems.
Who believed in 2006, when the Mets came within a pitch of the World Series, that Wright and Jose Reyes had just played in their last postseason together?
Who thought Mark Fidrych, the baseball world's Matt Harvey back in 1976, would be finished by 1980?
Tuesday night is about the present, and the Mets have a pair of representatives, there legitimately, for the home crowd to cheer on.
By this time tomorrow, many fans will have been reminded of how important David Wright is to his organization, and many more people in New York and around the country will be able to recognize Matt Harvey when they see him.