Hunting Matt Harvey
Many a fantasy league was lost in 2013 when star Mets pitcher Matt Harvey went down with a season ending injury. After some debate, it was announced Harvey would have Tommy John surgery and miss the entire 2014 season. To my surprise, I’ve seen Harvey dropped in the Ottoneu Experts League and placed on an owner’s trade block in Reality Fantasy Baseball. Sure, losing Harvey for more than a year is a kick to the groin, but these moves seem rash.
After all, Tommy John surgery isn’t a big deal anymore. Does it take considerable time to recover? Sure, but most pitchers return as strong as before. A pitcher needing a second procedure like Dan Hudson is rare. With Harvey being 26 at the start of the 2015 season, who’s to say he won’t dominate for a decade or more?
In Ottoneu, Harvey’s former owner cut him at $13. Keep in mind teams have $400 to work with, so stashing Harvey for the year would account 3.25% of his budget and a roster spot until the pitcher is transferred to the 60-day disabled list. Once that happens, the owner is freed up to sign another player. Meanwhile, Harvey was one of nine $30 pitchers based on the dollar value calculator I use even though he pitched just 178 1/3 innings. A return to form for Harvey in 2015 would mean years of surplus value since most owners apply arbitration raises to positions players and not arms.
Harvey being available has me debating what to do at first base at auction. Initially, my thoughts were Miggy Cabrera or bust. With $86 to spend, he’d eat most of what’s available, but so what. Adding his level of production to a team with five of the top 22 hitters and the top pitcher would almost guarantee a money finish. However, my attention has now shifted to to a lesser first baseman, and spending available resources towards securing Harvey. After all, Kershaw accounts for about 10% of my total budget right now and he’s the only pitcher I’d pay that kind of money for. However, Kershaw will eventually break too and having Harvey as a pillow to fall back on would be quite a luxury. Remember, it’s important to keep a projected depth chart two to three years out in any dynasty league.
As for Reality Fantasy Baseball, an owner is desperately trying to enter the Masahiro Tanaka sweepstakes and is probably using Matt Harvey as a chip to secure prospects, allowing him to shift draft money to Tanaka’s posting fee. It’s a noble attempt, but we are talking about a minimum salaried pitcher in Matt Harvey with years of control in a league which attempts to mirror Major League Baseball for a pitcher who’ll be guaranteed at least 10 million per season plus a posting fee. Yes, it sucks not having Harvey this year, but it’s a move which makes the team worse over the long haul.
Another factor is Harvey has already been dominant at the MLB level. A 7.2 win pitcher in his first 237 2/3 innings pitched is bananas. There’s a good chance Tanaka doesn’t accumulate 7.2 wins in his first 400 innings pitched. The fact a pitcher has, “been there, done that” is really important to me. It helps me trust in his ability to return to prior performance levels.
If Matt Harvey is being floated as an available name in your league, take the opportunity to acquire and stash him for a year. I have no idea why opposing owners would sell low or cut Harvey outright, but their impatience is your opportunity — especially if your team is rebuilding. For a contender, I’d be a bit more careful, but the ability to use value calculators to target undervalued assets presents an opportunity to exploit the format and sock away enough cap space for Harvey. In the Ottoneu Experts League, I’ll be attempting to do just that.
4 Feb 2014 / Mike Newman /
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