Mets fireballer Matt Harvey was locked in a tight National League Cy Young battle with Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw until it was discovered Harvey had a partially torn ligament in his right elbow and would be shut down for the season.
It seems like the award is Kershaw’s for the taking at this point, and Harvey’s case has all but gone out the window.
But Marlins rookie phenom Jose Fernandez has also gotten some buzz as a contender, and that candidacy could open the door for Harvey to make a late charge.
After all, Harvey (178.1) has thrown more innings than Fernandez (172.2), even though Fernandez has made two more starts. Fernandez was also shut down for the season after making his most recent start, meaning he won’t be building on any of his statistics. Kershaw leads both with 216 innings, a not-insignificant advantage.
Harvey leads all NL pitchers with 6.1 Wins Above Replacement, an advanced stat that attempts to capture a player’s full value to his team. That figure is better than Kershaw’s 5.6 (though he has time to add) and Fernandez’s 4.2 (which is set in stone).
Harvey’s 1.56 walks per nine innings is better than Kershaw (2.08) and Fernandez (3.02), and his 9.64 strikeouts per nine innings only barely trails Fernandez’s 9.75 K/9.
Harvey (2.27) is third in ERA to Fernandez (2.19) and Kershaw (2.52). But his 2.01 FIP and 2.64 xFIP, advanced metrics that attempt to take luck out of ERA and normalize home run rates, rate better than his competition.
Harvey hasn’t pitched since Aug. 24 and won’t pitch again this season. But the dominance he demonstrated prior to his injury may be enough to keep him relevant in the Cy Young conversation.