Coming up next on The Baltimore Battery Prospect Profiles Countdown is 25-year-old right-handed pitcher Hunter Harvey. Orioles fans are likely familiar with Harvey, as the former first round pick made seven appearances at Camden Yards this past season.
Drafted 22nd overall in 2013, Harvey is a highly touted Orioles prospect, despite a troublesome injury history. His big league debut in 2019 was one of the brighter highlights of Baltimore’s season, and he definitely has O’s fans excited for his 2020 season.
Harvey is a 6’3” right-hander whose path to MLB has been nothing but easy. Here are his ratings according to MLB.com:
In his first full professional season in 2014, Harvey accumulated a solid 7-5 record in 17 starts with Delmarva. He tallied a 3.18 ERA and struck out 106 batters through 87.2 innings. For a young rookie pitcher, this is about as productive a start to a career as one can imagine.
With that being said, injuries made a major setback in Harvey’s young career following his explosive start in 2014. An elbow injury ended Harvey’s 2014 season early and caused him to miss all of 2015 and most of 2016 after having Tommy John surgery. This was disappointing for Orioles fans, as most of us know how good Harvey could potentially become.
In a limited 2017 following his recovery from Tommy John surgery, Harvey looked like his old self through eight appearances. He averaged a 0.96 ERA through only 18.2 innings and got to show off his stuff with the Orioles in spring training.
Many imagined that 2018 was the year Harvey would explode on the scene, but management still limited his playing time following his injuries. Harvey started nine games for Bowie with a 1-2 record before shoulder soreness shut his season down.
With some Orioles fans starting to worry about Harvey’s injury history derailing his career, 2019 became a milestone season for the young pitcher.
Harvey pitched 14 games in Bowie before being called up to Norfolk for 12 appearances. While he struggled as a starter with a 2-5 record in Bowie and a 1-1 record in Norfolk, that did not stop his progression to Baltimore by June. This is because Harvey was moved to the bullpen in June and showed off his absolutely dominant pitching arsenal.
Harvey made his MLB debut on August 17, 2019, and pitched a scoreless inning with two strikeouts against the Red Sox. Harvey picked up his first career win on August 20, against the Kansas City Royals, as he pitched a scoreless, two-strikeout inning again. This electrifying moment caught the eyes of Orioles fans and was one of the few reasons to get excited late in the season.
Harvey finished his 2019 MLB season pitching in seven games and racking up a 1.42 ERA. He allowed only three hits through 6.1 innings and struck out 11 batters.
In the instances that Harvey is healthy, he demonstrates why he was selected in the first round of the 2013 draft and why Orioles fans are so excited about him. When healthy, Harvey’s fastball can reach the high 90s, while his curveball is his next best pitch to confuse batters.
Once considered the next best ace in Baltimore, Harvey may have cemented his role as a lockdown reliever in his limited playing time at Camden Yards this year. Starting pitching is crucial to winning games, but having a dynamic hurler like Harvey coming out of the pen late in games is an exciting idea.
There have been mumblings amongst Orioles fans that Harvey could start as the Orioles’ closer next season. In my opinion, this is a great spot for Harvey after what he showed in late relief last season.
Also, Harvey would still be able to work on limited innings as a closer because the Orioles will most likely rarely provide save opportunities this season. With the injury history, I would be concerned to see his innings count take a significant rise during the continued rebuild.
Harvey is ranked No. 15 on Baltimore’s Top 30 Prospect List, but he has the hype and draft history of a top tier prospect.
The 2020 season will be a great opportunity for Harvey to solidify his role on Baltimore’s roster and prove that he is a piece worth keeping upon completion of the rebuild.
What do you think of Harvey, and what role do you think works best for him? Let us know in the comments section, and make sure to follow The Baltimore Battery on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!