GIBBYs honor Harvey as Breakout Pitcher of Year
Mets phenom beats out talented field despite missing final month with injury
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Because a torn elbow ligament prematurely ended Matt Harvey's season in August, Mets fans will never know if he might have done enough over the final month of the season to win the National League Cy Young Award. And because Harvey first splashed onto the Major League Baseball scene in July 2011, he was not eligible for Rookie of the Year honors this summer.
No matter. Harvey did more than enough to win MLB.com's Greatness in Baseball Yearly (GIBBY) Award for Breakout Pitcher of the Year, besting a field of some of the game's brightest young stars.
MLB's A-listers won GIBBY trophies -- the ultimate honors of baseball's awards season -- on Tuesday at the Winter Meetings. More than 10 million votes were cast by media, front-office personnel, MLB alumni, fans at MLB.com and the Society for American Baseball Research.
This year's GIBBY Awards featured nominees in 22 categories. Individual honors went to the MLB MVP, in addition to the year's best Starting Pitcher, Hitter, Closer, Setup Man, Rookie, Breakout Hitter, Breakout Pitcher, Comeback Player, Defensive Player, Manager, Executive and Postseason Performer.
GIBBY trophies also were awarded for the year's top Play, Storyline, Hitting Performance, Pitching Performance, Oddity, Walk-off, Cut4 Topic, Regular-Season Moment and Postseason Moment, with video available via MLB.com's Must C highlight reels.
GIBBYs categories included players from both leagues and performances not only from the regular season, but also through the end of the playoffs, making them unique in singling out the best of the best.
All 30 clubs were represented among the award candidates. In fact, every team had multiple nominees in 2013 -- a testament to the parity of talent around the game.
Harvey, 24, was the Mets' only winner, besting a Breakout Pitcher field that included San Diego's Andrew Cashner, Arizona's Patrick Corbin, Seattle's Hisashi Iwakuma, Atlanta's Mike Minor, Baltimore's Chris Tillman, Boston's Koji Uehara and Chicago's Travis Wood.
Harvey ranked third in MLB with a 2.27 ERA, reeling off nine wins and 191 strikeouts despite only making 26 starts -- seven fewer than NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw. Three times, Harvey took a no-hitter into the seventh inning, highlighting his season with nine innings of one-hit, 12-strikeout ball against the White Sox on May 7. Along the way, he became an A-list New York City celebrity, gracing magazine covers and dating a Victoria's Secret model.
But Harvey learned in August that he had a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, deciding two months later to undergo Tommy John surgery. He is currently rehabbing from the operation and expects to be ready by Opening Day 2015.
At that point, Harvey will still be only 26 years old, potentially ready to break out all over again.