It's a healthy new start for Orioles' Hunter Harvey - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

It’s a healthy new start for Orioles’ Hunter Harvey

Photo Credit: Joy R. Absalon

BOWIE, Md.—Hunter Harvey is scheduled for his second start on Friday in what he hopes will be his first complete professional season.

Harvey, the Orioles’ No. 1 draft choice in 2013, has never thrown as many as 90 innings in a season. He had a difficult first start against Harrisburg last Friday, giving up five runs, four earned, on 10 hits in 4 2/3 innings.

The 24-year-old right-hander thought he was healthy last season until he hurt his shoulder in the dugout last June trying to get out of the way of a foul ball.

The Orioles had hoped Harvey would pitch for the team in 2018, and his innings with the Baysox were being carefully monitored. He’d thrown only 32 1/3 innings in nine starts when he was hurt and done for the year.

In 2019, Baysox manager Buck Britton said that Harvey won’t be under similar restrictions.

“I think Harvey’s good to go,” Britton said at last week’s Baysox media day.

“We’re going to have pitch counts early in the year. We just can’t throw them out there [and expect] a complete-game shutout every night. We’ve got to ease them into it, but I think Harvey’s a guy, the gloves are off. We’re hoping that he can develop into that top of the rotation that everybody’s hoping for.”

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Harvey had a 5.57 ERA in those nine starts last year.

“It’s always nice knowing that I can go out there knowing I don’t have any restraints this year,” Harvey said. “Last year was tough. I didn’t have my stuff. It was just a tough year, and I had the innings’ limit.

“To finally feel normal again and be able to go out there like any other starter, it’s a good feeling.”

In 2018, the Orioles recalled Harvey for three days early in the season. He stayed in the bullpen for each of those games, and that’s the closest he’s gotten to the major leagues.

Harvey has had a list of injuries, topped by Tommy John surgery in 2016. After a brief time in major league spring training, he is confident about this season.

“It’s awesome. I’m trying to hold it as much as I can and keep going the way we’re going and hopefully get the  full season under my belt and not get hurt and stay out of Florida,” Harvey said.

In 2018, Harvey stayed with the Orioles until late March when Alex Cobb was signed, but this year he was sent to minor league camp after throwing just two innings.

“I wouldn’t say I was surprised. I hadn’t really played much,” Harvey said. “I went down to minor league camp and got in a little more controlled area. They could control my innings a little better. We just started building up as a starter. It stunk to get cut that early, but I could see where they were coming from.”

Bowie pitching coach Kennie Steenstra, who coached Harvey last year, says he likes what he’s seen from him in 2019.

“Every year he gets a little more mature, and I think he understands his body a little bit better this year,” Steenstra said. “He understands what he’s trying to get better at. He’s got some well-defined roles in front of him, and what he’s trying to accomplish.

“The issue, as everybody knows, is staying healthy. He’s had a great spring. He’s throwing the ball, probably as well right now, as I’ve seen. He’s throwing the ball  better than what I saw last year. I think he’s got a lot of confidence right now, and the ball’s coming out of his hand really well.”

Steenstra thinks Harvey can pitch that full season this year.

“He’s a full-go until somebody tells me otherwise,” Steenstra said. “He’s got the same limitations or restrictions as anybody else has as far as pitch counts. He’s a full-go right from the beginning.”

Steenstra and Britton spent the early weeks of spring training in big league camp, and went to Twin Lakes Park for minor league camp shortly after Harvey did.

“I think that was the goal all along, to get him acclimated to the big leagues a little bit,” Steenstra said. “Then when you get a guy down to minor league camp and start building up his pitches and his innings a little easier under a less stressful situation, it always helps out a younger kid like him.”

Harvey didn’t start in his outings in spring training, and it could be that he’ll join the Orioles as a reliever.

“I don’t mind the bullpen,” Harvey said. “It’s just a little bit different. I like my routine. Changing that routine makes it tough.”

The routine changed this spring when manager Brandon Hyde took over the Orioles, and it was noted by Harvey.

“That environment was just way more relaxed and laid back,” Harvey said. “I wasn’t there long, but it was a fun couple of weeks. I’m looking forward to what the new management is going to do.”

Harvey was introduced to Orioles analytics and isn’t afraid to acknowledge he’s a beginner.

“I’m still trying to figure the analytics stuff out,” Harvey said. “It’s new to me, too That’s a work in progress. With the laid-back environment, everybody’s just relaxed . They’re going to play a little bit better and a little more loose, and I think it’s going to end up being really good.”

13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Schwarzstop

    April 11, 2019 at 8:29 am

    This is good news! I don’t expect him to join the mother ship this year unless he is just so awesome with the Baysox, they move him to the Tides, and then he blows them away, too! I don’t see that happening, though. But, his apparent condition is encouraging because when you come right down to it, the need of every team in todays game is pitching, pitching, pitching!

    BTW, Rich… the editor in me requires me to point out… in the fifth paragraph… I hope the O’s expect something out of him before 2108 🙂

    • Rich Dubroff

      April 11, 2019 at 11:40 am

      Please don’t apologize when you find a typo, Schwarstop. I appreciate it.

  2. Baltimore Castaway

    April 11, 2019 at 8:35 am

    Here’s to Hunter Harvey having a good year indeed!

    He–and the Orioles very much need him to get on track now to begin to realize his great potential.

  3. Fareastern89

    April 11, 2019 at 8:38 am

    Thanks, Rich — always good to hear what’s happening on the farm, especially this year. Chris Holt has such a great reputation, it’ll be interesting to see how far he can take Harvey, now that they’re no longer handling him with kid gloves. I assume they’re still projecting him as a starter, long-term?

    • Rich Dubroff

      April 11, 2019 at 11:40 am

      They are, Fareastern..

  4. Zoey Dog Says Throw Strikes

    April 11, 2019 at 9:00 am

    Not even going to pay Harvey much attention until he shows he can pitch 100 innings, effectively. I have hope that his career so far has been just a fluke, and that he’ll be a major part of the O’s starting with a promotion perhaps half way through next season.

  5. Orial

    April 11, 2019 at 10:57 am

    Not putting any pressure on you Hunter BUT you desperately have to succeed. It’s mandatory. We’re in despair in Baltimore. I realize and see the fire in these new somewhat young players on the O’s roster but how long before the fire burns out and complacency rolls in as the pitching staff continues to falter? Again—Hunter we need you!

  6. Hallbe62

    April 11, 2019 at 12:21 pm

    Here’s to hoping Harvey has a full successful season this year regardless of where that may be (AA, AAA, or MLB).

  7. Bancells Moustache

    April 11, 2019 at 12:45 pm

    It would be nice if Harvey produces something, anything really, since we’ve been hearing about him since what seems like the Bush administration and gotten nothing. Although my experience tells me don’t pin your hopes on anyone wearing a mullet and a wispy moustache that isn’t 6’11”.

    • Orial

      April 11, 2019 at 4:09 pm

      Lol. Can we say–Matt Hobgood and Cory Sedlock too?

  8. Camden Brooks

    April 11, 2019 at 1:27 pm

    Rich, what insight do you have regarding the types of analytical info provided to our pitchers, and maybe how this info has altered their approach to the game?

    • Rich Dubroff

      April 11, 2019 at 2:07 pm

      That is a closely held secret, Camden Brooks. I, too am intrigued.

  9. Jbigle1

    April 11, 2019 at 2:15 pm

    I’m sure if he’s effective Harvey will find his way up to the big leagues this season. I’m sure it’ll be as a reliever given the lack of innings he’s throwing in the last 4 years. He’s thrown 181 innings over his entire professional career. That’s honestly crazy and that shows the risk in drafting a pitcher. Especially ones with slight builds such as harvey’s. I hope he can get past it.

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