As the seventh overall pick in the 2010 Draft, St. Lucie Mets right-hander Matt Harvey's transition from college to the pros has come with high expectations. With classes and college life no longer an issue, Harvey had to make a few changes in his personal schedule.
"We have more time in the Minors," said Harvey. "You've got to get a schedule and get your work in -- in the weight room and the bullpen sessions. You have to learn to manage your time. Playing everyday is a big difference."
The results of his hard work are paying off. Entering his Tuesday start, Harvey had allowed only four earned runs in 32 2/3 innings for a sparkling 1.10 ERA. He was also among the Florida State League leaders in wins (4), innings pitched and strikeouts (39). He has yet to allow a run in three starts away from Digital Domain Park and was holding right-handed hitters to a .191 average.
Staying within himself has also been among the biggest keys to Harvey's early-season success.
"I'm going after one hitter at a time," Harvey said. "I'm not trying to think too far ahead. I've been concentrating on my side work and trying to bring that hard work on to the field."
After a stellar career at Fitch High School in Groton, Conn., Harvey was drafted in the third round of the 2007 Draft by the Anaheim Angels. He opted not to sign and instead attended the University of North Carolina. By the end of his junior year at Chapel Hill, Harvey was among the university's all-time leaders in strikeouts (263) and wins (22). His stellar junior campaign drew the eye of the Mets, who made him the third pitcher taken in last year's Draft.
"I've never seen a kid develop over three years more than Matt did," North Carolina coach Mike Fox told the New York Post last August. "I think he planned on signing out of high school, and all of a sudden he was on our campus and not really ready for it. I think the first couple months were really tough for him, but he progressed each and every day he was on our campus and became a leader for us."
One of the biggest lessons Harvey learned while at Chapel Hill was the need to stay consistent. He has taken those lessons with him to the mound in St. Lucie.
"The biggest thing is staying with my approach and staying on track," Harvey said. "That's been successful in the past."
As for the future, Harvey is taking that one day at a time as well. While others push themselves for numbers or achievements, he has only a few simple goals.
"My goal is to stay healthy and show that I can last through the season," Harvey said. "Especially with this being my first year, my second goal is to not miss a start and go every fifth day."
If he can do those things, Harvey should have no problem adapting to life as a professional baseball player.
Jackin' Jarek: Bradenton's Jarek Cunningham is leading the Florida State League with a .634 slugging percentage. The power-hitting second baseman already has eight home runs, 74 total bases and a 1.014 OPS.
Raging Cubs: At 23-8, the Daytona Cubs have scored a league-high 5.61 runs per game this season and are riding a seven-game win streak entering Tuesday's action. This week the Cubs face the resurgent Jupiter Hammerheads, who've won seven of their last 10.
Drowning Manatees: Entering Tuesday, Brevard County has lost eight in a row and were tied with the Tampa Yankees for the worst record in the league at 10-21. The Manatees have allowed exactly one more run per game (5.37) than they score (4.37).