The New York Mets have done everything right in their handling of Matt Harvey, according to current conventional wisdom in baseball, just as the Washington Nationals did with Stephen Strasburg. But Harvey apparently blew out his elbow, just as Strasburg did. And as the search for the perfect formula for handling young pitchers continues without uniform success, some officials are beginning to believe that with all of the uncertainty about physiology and pitch history and mechanics that there is really only one hard truth about young pitchers: You control them for six years in their major league careers.
So you might as well pitch them, because you just never know.
To be clear, the evaluators who talked about this shift in thought on Monday evening, in the aftermath of the announcement that Harvey has a serious elbow injury, are not advocating abuse of pitchers. They aren’t suggesting that managers and pitching coaches should keep going to the whip and ignoring pitch counts.
What they are saying is that no clear evidence that the cushiony handling of pitchers necessarily makes a difference in keeping them healthy.