NEW YORK—How would the Orioles like a pitcher who threw 176 2/3 innings this season and had a 3.11 ERA? Those are the professional stats for the entire career of Hunter Harvey, who was the Orioles’ top draft choice in 2013 and was shut down again this month during the Instructional League.
Harvey, who had Tommy John surgery in July 2016, will visit Orioles team doctors Monday to examine his right elbow.
Nearly two years after his surgery, the Orioles had high hopes that Harvey would contribute to the team this season. Harvey was in spring training and spent three days with the Orioles from April 9-11, but wasn’t used in a game.
Harvey was 1-2 with a 5.57 ERA in nine starts with Double-A Bowie before he suffered a right shoulder injury while trying to avoid being hit by a foul ball in the dugout in early June.
It’s been a trauma-filled career for the 23-year-old, who began experiencing forearm tightness in July 2014. His season at Low-A Delmarva was ended after going 7-5 with a 3.18 ERA in 87 2/3 innings, by far the most he’s thrown in a single season.
Harvey suffered a broken leg in March 2015 and didn’t pitch at all that season, and threw just 12 2/3 innings in 2016 before the Tommy John surgery and 17 2/3 innings last season when he was rehabbing from it.
“It was a disappointment for Hunter,” manager Buck Showalter said about this season, but it could have been any season since 2015 that he’s referring to.
“I just feel for him. He’s such a talented young man and a talented pitcher. You talk about one thing or another, it seemed like it was one thing or another. You get one physical issue kind of taken care of.”
During spring training, Harvey was with the team until they signed Alex Cobb on March 21. He had a healthy spring, and Showalter thought that five years after he was drafted this could be the year Harvey helped the Orioles.
“We were hoping and thinking it was behind us,” Showalter said. “It was tough. We were expecting him to maybe be impacting our team the second half of the season. But that possibility is still there and to me that’s another good thing that could be on the horizon for us is Hunter getting all the issues behind him. I’m looking at it half full instead of half empty.”
The Orioles were aware that there was the potential for injuries when they drafted Harvey, but they never saw the succession of injuries coming.
“I’ve seen that change,” Showalter said. “There would be some people, guys you know real well, who kind of went through that and people thought they were never going to be able to get healthy and all of a sudden they were healthy for a 10-year career. Just to say that he’s not going to physically be able to do things because he’s had a real tough year physically.”