Matt Harvey, RHP, New York Mets
A year ago, Matt Harvey was pitching for the University of North Carolina. One of the best high school pitchers available in the 2007 draft, Harvey was drafted in the third round by the Los Angeles Angels, but didn't sign. His college career was rather erratic, but he made enough progress last spring to lock down a slot in the first round. He signed too late to play last summer, so 2011 represents his professional debut.
So far, it is going quite well: he's made three starts for High-A St. Lucie in the Florida State League, going 3-0, allowing just one unearned run in 16 innings, with 10 hits allowed and a 20/6 K/BB ratio. Harvey has top-flight arm strength with a fastball clocked as high as 95-97 MPH on his best days, with 91-95 his regular velocity. He has a nasty slider, his curveball is also a plus pitch, and he's made strides with his changeup. Command and control were Harvey's biggest problems in college, but so far he's done a decent job of throwing strikes this spring, having smoothed out some mechanical issues. His stuff has been overpowering.
Although there was talk of Harvey becoming a closer down the road, with the improvements in his secondary pitches and command, he projects as a rotation anchor, a possible number one or two starter if everything comes together. He's blowing away Florida State League hitters, and a promotion to Double-A will be in the offing soon if that keeps up. Although it isn't likely yet that he'll appear in the majors this year, he'll certainly rank highly on top prospect lists entering 2012 if current trends continue. I had him rated as a "strong Grade B" in the2011 Baseball Prospect Book, and right now he looks at least like a B+.