Possibly a confusing title – allow me to elaborate. Traditionalists would argue that wins are one of the most important stats around. I would argue that that concept is pure folly (embracing my middle ages/old English vocabulary).
Going just off the Win stat, Harvey ranks at the same exact spot on a list across the MLB as Dillon Gee. No knock against Gee, but there is no justification for considering them to be at the same level.
Now that we have discredited wins, lets look into the numbers a little more. Harvey has compiled a WAR stat of 3.7, being third among all pitchers in the NL, and sixth among all players in the NL (which means he has to compete against players who can impact the team on an every-day basis, not just every five days). Being a third of the way into the season, that means, should he stay on this pace, he’ll be putting MVP type performances.
In terms of Walks/Hits per Innings Pitched, or WHIP, Harvey is second in the NL, behind Zimmerman (of the Nationals), with a .907. That means that on average, he allows less than one hit or walk for every inning he pitches. Good luck trying to get something going to score a few runs without base runners.
Harvey is fourth in the NL in innings pitched. What significance does that show you might ask? Oh I don’t know, maybe saving the arms of your relievers? Being good enough to handle more of the game on his own? Proving to be reliable over more than just a few games? If you can pitch five scoreless innings, that’s one thing. But it’s an entirely different thing if you can go seven or eight scoreless and bring it right up to the closer. MVP pitchers don’t go a handful of innings and pass the ball on – MVP caliber pitchers go the length. They’re hungry, and they want to get the job done on their own.
One last stat, before I start reminding everyone of their escapades in tenth grade algebra, or dare I say – trigonometry! Gasp – ERA. While some believe it to be fading, it is still in existence right now. Harvey has posted a 2.04 ERA. That is good enough for third in the NL, and fifth in the MLB. Almost forgot! He has 102 strikeouts. That’s good for two behind Samardzija for second highest in the NL, and fourth in the entire MLB. But good luck catching the leader there: Yu Darvish. Go ahead, just try and figure out what his next pitch will be, as he reaches into his arsenal of like 74 different pitches.
Simply put, Harvey is proving to be elite. Take away the win stat, and he is atop the NL, and top five in the entire MLB in almost every relevant, and measurable stat. When opponents are only batting .197 against you, it isn’t your fault you only have five wins over 14 starts. And for the record, his only loss came against the best team in baseball (the Cardinals), and that’s when he only allowed one run over seven innings. Again, he didn’t lose that game.
Photo Courtesy: Michael Baron