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Matt Harvey Fastball Grip

Will Matt Harvey’s Fastball Command Ever Return?

Super agent Scott Boras says that Matt Harvey’s fastball command is the key to unlocking whatever potential remains in the former ace. Returning from surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome(TOS), Harvey endured a horrendous 2017 season. It was the worst in ERA (6.70) by any NL starting pitcher in over 10 years.

Fastball Velocity

Harvey threw his fastball 59.1% of the time last season. That’s similar to the 60.9% in 2015 when he triumphantly returned from Tommy John surgery. But his average fastball velocity dipped to 94.4 mph from 96.6 in 2015.

Matt Harvey Fastball Velocity 2015-2017

Matt Harvey’s Fastball Command

Plenty of major league pitchers get by with a 94 mph fastball. What really hurt Harvey was the lack of command of his fastball. The table below shows the increase in fastballs thrown for balls between the 2 years.

YearBallStrike
201530.58%31.09%
201734.65%26.97%

Release Point

Pitchers who have had TOS report that a major problem is regaining and repeating their pitching mechanics. Matt’s release point was all over the place last year, compared to 2015, as shown in the chart below.

Matt Harvey Release Point 2015-2017

Harvey’s agent Scott Boras told the Post that command is what they will be working with Matt on this winter.

[We’ll have] a substantial throwing program for him. The idea is to have a lot of reps to get his fastball command back and get his release point down. Matt has been blessed with a lower half that is one of the strongest we have ever seen. He is an amazingly strong athlete. So, from our standpoint the clay is there to build the sculpture. His velocity is more than enough at 95 (mph) and he has a ceiling above that. This is about command and command does relate to conditioning and strength. What Matt went through with the TOS (thoracic outlet syndrome), he did not have the type of conditioning last offseason you do when you have normal health. He will have that chance this offseason.

Matt Harvey will be a free agent after the 2018 season. He has plenty of motivation to try to save his career. Once he talked about someday signing a $200 million-plus contract. Those thoughts seem unlikely now. But he can still position himself for a multi-year deal.

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