Since being drafted in the first round in 2013, Hunter Harvey’s path to the majors has been all but easy.
Injuries have plagued Harvey’s development, but the 25-year-old was worth the wait. He made his MLB debut last season with the Orioles and was one of the highlights of Baltimore’s season in his limited playing time.
Originally developed as a starter, the mullet-sporting Harvey could be the next closer for the Orioles. The 6’3” right-hander has a heater that can reach the high 90s and a quality curveball that makes him a dominant strikeout pitcher out of the bullpen.
Harvey got off to an explosive start to his career, as he posted a 7-5 record with Single-A Delmarva in 2014. Between then and 2018, Harvey spent most of his time on the injured reserve and being used cautiously after Tommy John Surgery in 2016.
Despite the fan base growing concerned about Harvey’s long-term health, the 2019 season was a big step for the young pitcher.
Harvey pitched in both Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk before getting called up to Baltimore in August, after being moved to the bullpen a few months earlier. Out of the pen, Harvey finished his MLB stint with a 1.42 ERA and 11 strikeouts through 6.1 innings pitched.
While the performance was over a limited amount of innings, Harvey’s time in Baltimore last season showed why he was a top pick and rejuvenated the fan base’s hopes for the pitcher. While he was once considered the next ace in Baltimore, Harvey may have secured his role as a lockdown reliever after his showing with the O’s last season.
I think Harvey perfectly fits the closer role because it could allow him to continue to flash his heater and baffle hitters with his off-speed selection.
Another plus would be that Harvey could continue to work on an innings limit since the Orioles will not be in a position for saves very often this year. Brandon Hyde could work Harvey in during save opportunities, as well as late-game scenarios to continue progressing after his injury history.
Keeping our fingers crossed that he can stay healthy, the Orioles might have found their future closer in Harvey.
Whether or not he is selected for the closer role, Harvey should continue to grow as a dominant reliever out of the bullpen in Baltimore.
What role do you see Harvey fitting into with the O’s? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to follow The Baltimore Battery on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!