Is this finally the year for Orioles' Hunter Harvey? - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Is this finally the year for Orioles’ Hunter Harvey?

Since Hunter Harvey was picked in the first round of the 2013 draft, the Orioles have gone though five pitching coaches, and he has pitched just 176 2/3 innings in his professional career.

At 24, Harvey is hoping that this will finally be the year he makes it to the major leagues. Last April, just before his season with Double-A Bowie began, Harvey was called up to the Orioles, sat in the bullpen for three nights and went back to Bowie to begin his season.

Although Harvey endured another season truncated by injury, his 32 1/3 innings with the Baysox were the second most he’s thrown.

His 5.57 ERA wasn’t good, but there were times when he reminded onlookers of the talent the Orioles thought they had. On April 27, he breezed through four shutout innings at Akron, allowing just two hits, walking one and striking out six.

Harvey threw as many as five innings twice and as many as 85 pitches but didn’t appear in a game after June 1. He injured his shoulder trying to avoid an errant foul ball, and when he was ready to return, his forearm flared up and his season ended.

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Now, Harvey is ready again.

“I’m doing really good. I’m felling really good,” Harvey said at the Jan. 26 FanFest at the Baltimore Convention Center. “Body feels good. I’m excited for baseball.”

Harvey began throwing the week of FanFest, and he reported no issues.

“I worked my butt off this offseason again,” Harvey said. “Just trying to prevent injuries. It’s been tough the last few years and, hopefully, we can put everything together this year.”

In six professional seasons, Harvey has yet to pitch through one. The closest he came was in 2014 when he threw 87 2/3 innings for Low-A Delmarva before his season ended in late July when his elbow began hurting.

Two years later, Harvey, who didn’t pitch at all in 2015, underwent Tommy John surgery. He returned in late 2017 and threw a pain-free 18 2/3 innings, and the Orioles were hoping for Harvey to finally make it to Baltimore last season.

It seems natural that Harvey would think about his injury each time he throws.

“When I first start playing catch, you think about it a little bit,” Harvey said. “As the weeks go on, it kind of drifts away. I haven’t felt anything but normal soreness now. It’s nothing again, and I’m not worried about it.”

Orioles manager Brandon Hyde has no preconceptions about Harvey or any other of the 59 players he’ll be seeing when spring training opens in Sarasota, Fla., on Feb. 12.

On the other hand, Harvey has his mind made up about Hyde. He likes him. When he was just 11, his older brother Kris played for Hyde when he was a second-year manager at Low-A Greensboro. He doesn’t remember Hyde well, but Kris and his father, Bryan, a longtime major league pitcher, have a favorable impression of Hyde.

“They’re new, but I’m sort of familiar with them,” Harvey said.

He doesn’t think his years of idleness have affected his stuff.

“I feel like it’s better,” Harvey said. “Even though I’m not playing, I’m still working on my mechanics, working on baseball stuff in general. Even though I’m not throwing, I know most of that stuff’s there. Even though I’ve been hurt, I get back up to throw bullpens, keep my arm going a little. I just can’t get back to the pitching level. Last year and starting this year, everything’s feeling as good as it’s ever been.”

Harvey made some adjustments in the offseason that he hopes help.

“I hired a personal trainer this offseason to kind of whup me into shape a little better,” Harvey said. “I’m going in with the same mindset. I’m there for a reason. I’m going to try to pitch my butt off and work my tail off and just try and make this team.”

Last year, there was an outside possibility that Harvey could have started the season with the Orioles, but the late signing of Alex Cobb forced him to go back to the minor leagues. Without defined starters, Harvey knows the chance is there for him again.

“I’d like to stay healthy,” he said. “Hopefully, it’s at the big league level. Same thing I was saying last year. I just want to pitch a full season.”

29 Comments

29 Comments

  1. Boog Robinson Robinson

    February 4, 2019 at 8:10 am

    Hunter Harvey …. we read about you each spring. I can’t believe this kid the O’s drafted out of high school is 24 already. Here’s to one more summer in the sun Hunter … we’re rooting for you.

    • charmacharm

      February 4, 2019 at 10:40 am

      I second that Boog. HH is mythical to me at this point. Hoping to see him this year at OPACY.

      • Rich Dubroff

        February 4, 2019 at 12:18 pm

        Boog and charmacharm, it would be nice to see him pitch in Baltimore this season.

  2. Orial

    February 4, 2019 at 10:36 am

    At the point that if he has a bad spring he’ll be an afterthought. Harvey represents the belief we’ve had in many other rookie potentials–“what could have been”.

    • Rich Dubroff

      February 4, 2019 at 12:19 pm

      Orial, it seems that every team has several of those types of pitchers.

  3. DevoTion

    February 4, 2019 at 11:10 am

    I am pulling for this guy, but even if he has a good spring I don’t think it’s a good idea for him to start in the big leagues. He needs to get some innings under his belt. If he starts with the O’s and gets beat up right away it could mess up his confidence and it could take longer to get where he needs to be to be successful

    • Rich Dubroff

      February 4, 2019 at 12:26 pm

      Devo, I would doubt that he starts the season with the Orioles, but if healthy, you’ll see him during the season.

  4. JK in EC

    February 4, 2019 at 11:11 am

    It would seem that 2019 will present plenty of opportunities for someone like Harvey. His injury history doesn’t give me a lot of optimism but let’s see what the new regime can do that might help him stay healthy. At 24, he can still build a lengthy and productive career. I wish him the best and hope he can pitch a few Major League innings this year. The O’s will need innings from anywhere they can get them in ‘19!

    • Rich Dubroff

      February 4, 2019 at 12:28 pm

      I hope we see him in Baltimore this season, JK.

  5. Camden Brooks

    February 4, 2019 at 11:51 am

    Ooops, I clicked on this article because I thought it was about Harvey Haddox…

    • Rich Dubroff

      February 4, 2019 at 12:27 pm

      Camden, if you’re making a joke, best to spell the punch line correctly. It’s Harvey Haddix–not Haddox.

  6. PA Bird Lover

    February 4, 2019 at 11:56 am

    Good afternoon Rich; I doubt the new regime is counting on HH for much of anything. His health track record is the decisive factor. But, remember Bundy was injury prone, not that he turned into the second coming of Jim Palmer. I keep hoping he suddenly becomes a reliable starter. I believe HH is a Bundy replica. Time will tell.

    • Rich Dubroff

      February 4, 2019 at 12:29 pm

      That’s what I think they’re looking at, PA.

  7. SailinO

    February 4, 2019 at 12:34 pm

    If the O’s are anything right now it is the land of opportunity. If HH stays healthy AND performs well we should see him. One does not guarantee the other, but I am rooting for him.

    • Rich Dubroff

      February 4, 2019 at 4:13 pm

      That’s good to hear, Sailin.

  8. Bhoffman1

    February 4, 2019 at 2:32 pm

    Let’s hope so. With our new management from the GM down I am so much more confident young talent will develop here instead of other organizations like the past.

    • Rich Dubroff

      February 4, 2019 at 4:14 pm

      That is also good to hear, bhoffman.

  9. ClyOs

    February 4, 2019 at 3:09 pm

    I know the injury bug has been especially cruel to Hunter, but it seems we have been hearing about Hunter Harvey’s potential for two years. If there way a year the Orioles needed someone to live up to his potential, it’s this year with Hunter Harvey! Good Luck Young Man!

    • Rich Dubroff

      February 4, 2019 at 4:15 pm

      I’m sure Hunter appreciates that, ClyOs.

  10. bmorebirds

    February 4, 2019 at 3:12 pm

    I had forgotten about Harvey. He’s talented, but if you look at him hard a new body part fails. Maybe this is finally his year, even though the Orioles would have to shut him down after 50 pitches! (and that’s only a slight exaggeration).

    • Rich Dubroff

      February 4, 2019 at 4:15 pm

      They want him to succeed badly, bmorebirds.

  11. BirdsCaps

    February 4, 2019 at 3:22 pm

    After quite a few years of injuries and setbacks Bundy came around (for the most part). Harvey has more setbacks than Bundy did, but lets hope for the best. Also, hopefully the new regime has a better program to deal with pitchers than the last one.

    • Rich Dubroff

      February 4, 2019 at 4:15 pm

      It will be interesting to watch, BirdsCaps.

  12. cedar

    February 4, 2019 at 4:22 pm

    I can not imagine the frustration of going through so many injuries year after year. With the rebuild in full swing and roster spots open this would seem the perfect chance for Harvey to show everyone why he was drafted. Good luck Hunter!

    • Rich Dubroff

      February 4, 2019 at 6:35 pm

      Cedar, it seems as if many readers are rooting for him.

  13. Zoey Dog Says Throw Strikes

    February 4, 2019 at 5:52 pm

    I won’t ever root against an Oriole. But I can’t see Harvey contributing much this season. A 5.5-ish ERA over 30 innings in the minors? He needs to pitch a whole season in MiLB. He certainly hasn’t earned a shot at the MLB level. Call me Mr. Skeptical.

    If he had a nice season in the minors this year, maybe a September call up with invite to ST next off season.

    • Rich Dubroff

      February 4, 2019 at 6:36 pm

      Zoey, as long as he’s on the 40-man roster, and there’s no reason to think he won’t next year, Harvey will be at spring training a year from now.

  14. Hallbe62

    February 4, 2019 at 10:57 pm

    At this point in his career I would think he’d be happy just to pitch in a starting rotation, injury free for an entire season, regardless of the level (AA, AAA, or Majors).

    • Rich Dubroff

      February 5, 2019 at 7:43 am

      I think the Orioles would like that too, Hallbe.

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