Welcome back to the next edition of the fantasy baseball injury report where we take a look at players who suffered significant injuries in 2016 and have red flags all over them heading into the 2017 season.  These are impact fantasy players who may see their draft value slip so they can provide great value if you are patient enough to grab them when the time is right in a draft.  So without further ado, here is the next installment of the MLB pre-season walking wounded.

Matt Harvey (SP-NYM)

Injury He was diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome which is a nerve compression near the neck and shoulder resulting in numbness in his right hand.  Harvey underwent surgery where a rib was removed to alleviate some of the pressure on the nerve.

2016 Season – Harvey had a disastrous season making only 17 starts and compiling a 4-10 record with a 4.86 ERA, 1.47 WHIP and 76 strikeouts in 92.2 innings.

Reason For Optimism  

  • He was diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome very early on which bodes well for his recovery and prevention from any long-term damage.
  • Harvey will only be 28-years old by Opening Day so he is entering the prime of his career and will be motivated to show he is healthy with free agency looming after the 2018 season.
  • After the controversy of pitching beyond innings limits in 2015, being shut down for the second half of 2016 could be the best thing to happen for him as he will enter spring training completely fresh and rested.
  • Harvey has already proved he can regain his form as a dominant pitcher following a significant injury, so there is every reason to believe he will do the same this time. 

Reason For Concern

  • Thoracic outlet syndrome is a very serious condition that can be career-threatening and few pitchers have had sustained success following such a procedure.
  • Since making his MLB debut in 2012, Harvey has only pitched one full season in his entire career.  The Mets will likely be cautious and conservative with him which means he could have starts skipped or a short leash if he struggles.
  • While Harvey did come back strong from Tommy John surgery, the fact remains that he has undergone two extremely serious surgeries in the past three years which raises significant questions about what can be expected of him in 2017 and beyond.

2017 OUTLOOK – Once regarded as one of the top fantasy pitchers in baseball, Harvey is now possibly just damaged goods.  He is one of several prolific Mets pitchers coming back from an injury but as the elder statesmen with a huge chip on his shoulder it can be expected that Harvey will go full throttle to re-establish himself as the leader of the staff.  He has been throwing during the off-season and is expected to be ready for spring training at full strength.  Harvey has reported that he feels good and is focused on staying healthy.  That’s all well and good, but actually doing it is another story.  He is no longer an early round draft pick due to the significant risk associated with his ownership.  That being said, Harvey could slip enough to make him a very valuable draft pick after you have filled your pitching staff with at least two dependable starters.  In terms of what to expect from him, it is obviously all dependent on whether he can stay healthy.  In 2016, the thoracic outlet syndrome affected his velocity and sharpness of his breaking pitches, so he was very hittable and uncharacteristically wild.  If he is able to regain velocity and locate his pitches like he did in 2015, then Harvey should be counted on for double-digit wins and an ERA in the mid 3.00’s.  It will be interesting to gauge his BB/K rate because Harvey may have to reinvent himself to compensate for the injuries in order to stay healthy.  He is at best a SP3 at this point but you should closely monitor his progress through spring training since it is a fluid evaluation until he can prove he is healthy.

For more on Matt Harvey, be sure to check out Ray Flowers' take in the 30 Strategies section of the 2017 MLB Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide.


Michael A. Stein, Esq. is the Chief Justice of Fantasy Judgment, the industry's premier dispute resolution service, and co-host of the Fantasy Alarm Podcast.  You can contact him at michael.stein@fantasyjudgment.com or on Facebook and Twitter (@FantasyJudgment),