For Matt Harvey, 2017 was a disaster. Battling injury and poor performance, Harvey posted career-worsts across the board.
The 28-year-old Harvey, who is eligible for free agency after next season, had a 6.70 ERA and 1.69 WHIP with just 67 strikeouts in 97 2/3 innings. But new manager Mickey Callaway is excited with what he's seen from The Dark Knight.
"He's in a really good spot, mentally," Callaway said, via Jon Paul Morosi of MLB.com. "I think sometimes people overlook that the surgery he had [to address thoracic outlet syndrome in 2016] usually takes 18 months to recover from. I watched video of his starts from the end of last season, and his stuff was great. He just didn't have the feel."
Harvey is just two seasons removed from throwing 2.71 ERA and 1.02 WHIP with 188 strikeouts in 189 1/3 innings in 2015. Callaway believes that feel, and in turn, confidence, is at the heart of Harvey's problems.
"When your feel goes away, your confidence goes away, too," Callaway said. "I think that was the root of the struggles he had in the last year and a half. He didn't know if he could throw the ball where he wanted to. But in the video we just saw of him [this offseason], he's dotting the glove. He's locating again, and I know he's really excited."
Locating is huge for Harvey. He threw his slider 22.4 percent of the time in 2017, the highest rate of his career, but he had trouble locating all season, as he posted the highest walk rate (4.56 per 9) of his career.
Harvey is due at Port St. Lucie in just over two weeks, on February 12, when pitchers and catchers report to spring training.