Matt Harvey threw a lot of innings in 2015, but history says he should be ok
For Matt Harvey, 2015 was a tremendous success.
In his first season since undergoing Tommy John surgery in the 2013-2014 offseason, Harvey performed tremendously, as the Mets starter went 13-8 with a 2.71 ERA in 29 starts, as well as 2-0 with a 3.04 ERA in four postseason starts.
On Thursday, Harvey was recognized for his terrific season as he was the winner of the 2015 National League Comeback Player of the Year Award.
Overall this past season, Harvey combined to pitch 216 total innings, well beyond what his agent, Scott Boras would have liked, as it was believed that he and the team along with his physicians had agreed to a hard innings cap set at 180.
Among all of the pitchers who had Tommy John Surgery, Harvey accumulated the highest innings total of any pitcher in their first full season following Tommy John Surgery:
Image courtesy of MLB Network
While this might seem alarming, it’s worth mentioning Harvey had a 17-month layoff in between his procedure and the start of his 2015 season. He also averaged a shade under 13 pitches per inning in 2015.
The Mets also gave Harvey breaks along the way to spread out his recovery periods in between several starts in 2015. And in the postseason, the only time he pitched on regular rest was in Game 5 of the World Series – he accumulated a total 27 innings between October 3 and November 1.
In addition, not one of John Lackey, Adam Wainwright, Tommy John or Jake Westbrook underwent or have undergone a second procedure. So if history is any indication, Harvey should be ok.
Of course, that shouldn’t be offered as any kind of guarantee. There’s no way to know what’s going to happen to Harvey or his elbow, be it in 2016 or in 2026.
The general takeaway is the Mets managed Harvey’s case as well as could be expected this past season. If he’s going to break – as Terry Collins always says – then he’s going to break, regardless of how much the Mets coddle and nurture their star right-hander.