For a few years, I talked about how Mike Minor or Kris Medlen were gonna be my last round starter flyer in all leagues. Never really worked out. Sure, I snatched Medlen off waivers last year when he needed to be, but for a few years they were drafted and dropped numerous times before they rewarded fantasy owners. I don’t tell you this to remain modest. Does my mustache make me look like a man of modesty? I tell you this so you know where I’m coming from when I say I’m going to draft Matt Harvey in every league. At some point, he’s going to be a top starter. It may not be this year, it may not be next year, but at some point he’ll be there. You can look at this as a Matt Harvey sleeper post, a rookie outlook post or simply a heads up that I need to get me some of this young brother, in the non-biblical way, unless there’s a clergyman reading and he gives me his Razzblessing. Speaking of which, do we have any priest or rabbi readers? I could see a Sunday sermon including SAGNOF (Satan Ain’t Got No Face) and how Jesus Montero was a fanny pick. In Harvey’s short-stint in the majors, he did some bedazzling work on fantasy owners’ jean jackets. A 10+ K-rate and a 2.73 ERA in 59 1/3 innings. Awesome called and said he wishes he was more descriptive because that doesn’t do Harvey justice. So what can we expect of Matt Harvey for 2013 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?
His minor league numbers show evidence that the Ks weren’t a fluke, but a 10+ K-rate is the absolute ceiling. In Triple-A, he topped out at just over nine Ks per nine innings. He hits 97 MPH with regularity and averages a 94.7 MPH fastball. Over the course of the season, that would put his fastball velocity third in the majors tied with Verlander and just behind David Price and Jeff Samardzija. Just behind him are guys like Max Scherzer, Matt Moore, Jordan Zimmermann… You starting to see the picture here? (The homophone works there too.) Like a few other guys on that list, BBs unravel Harvey from time to time. Last year, he had a 3.94 BB/9. No pitcher with a walk rate that poor had an ERA below 3.61 last year and many were way above it. Guys like Masterson (3.84 BB/9) had an xFIP of 4.15, but his Ks were nowhere near Harvey’s talent level. Yu Darvish was near Harvey for Ks and BBs and had a 3.52 xFIP; Gio showed a bit more control with Ks and had a 3.38 xFIP, but this is no exact science. If Harvey maintains a 10+ K-rate over a full season, he’s ownable in all leagues. If he falls to a 9+ K-rate like in Triple-A (more likely), he’s going to need to cut his walks a hair to be ownable in all mixed leagues. For 2013, I’ll give him the line of 10-7/3.92/1.34/192 in 188 innings. That’s a roller coaster fifth starter, but definitely someone with immense upside and worthy of a late-round gamble in all leagues.