Matt Harvey has been all the rage this season, and for good reason. The Mets' young righthander leads the NL in ERA and strikeouts. Harvey has electric stuff and is drawing comparisons to a young Dwight Gooden. He's the popular choice to start for the NL in the All-Star Game at Citi Field in New York.
But you don't hear much about another second-year pitcher whose stats are very similar to Harvey's. This kid is the No. 1 reason why the Pirates are rolling along with the second-best record in baseball: Jeff Locke, the 25-year-old lefthander from Conway, N.H. Check out the numbers:
Harvey: 16 starts, 7-1, 2.05 ERA, .188 opposing BA
Locke: 16 starts, 7-1, 2.06 ERA, .199 opposing BA
Hey, maybe Locke will show up on the cover of Sports Illustrated one of these days? All right, so he's nowhere close to Harvey as a power pitcher. Harvey has walked 24 and struck out 121. Locke has a pedestrian BB-K ratio of 41-67. That suggests that Locke has been fortunate on balls hit in play and runners stranded. But it's hard to argue with a guy who is keeping teams off the scoreboard.
Maybe more baseball fans should stop talking about putting Yasiel Puig on the All-Star team after three weeks and show respect for obscure young stars who have been doing it all season -- in this case, for a winning team.