BALTIMORE—Relief pitcher Hunter Harvey doesn’t disagree with the Orioles’ decision to shut him down for 2019. Still, his disappointment was evident.
“It stinks,” Harvey said Thursday. “I know their reasonings. All in all, I think it’s been a good year, so I’m happy with it.”
Manager Brandon Hyde announced the decision after Wednesday excruciating 11-10 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays.
Harvey, the Orioles’ No. 1 draft choice in 2013 whose career has been derailed by injury, ended the season with a surprising recall to the Orioles from Triple-A Norfolk on August 17. He threw 6 1/3 innings, allowing a run on three hits, striking out 11 and walking four. His fastball touched 100 mph on the radar gun.
After five injury-plagued years, Harvey was happy to get through a season without a major injury. He had been sidelined recently by biceps soreness in his right arm.
“Mentally, it’s going to help out a lot,” he said. “The last couple of years, it’s been a month or two in, something gives out so to make it even this far into September is huge for me.”
After sitting out for 11 days because of the soreness, Harvey pitched a scoreless inning against Detroit on September 13. That was his last appearance. Harvey said he’s not concerned about the biceps.
“If feels good,” he said. “It feels better every day. Nothing ever really wrong. It’s just normal season stuff.
“I pitched in Detroit. Everything is still fine. The velo’s still fine … I never thought it was bad.”
Harvey was thought of as a starter until June when he was shifted to the bullpen.
“It was big because it let me pitch this far,” Harvey said of the move. “I didn’t know that it was going to excel like this and get to the big leagues like that. I never thought that was how it was going to happen, but it worked out for the best.”
Harvey said that he’ll consider himself a reliever until he’s told otherwise.
Hyde said that his role for 2020 and beyond hasn’t been determined.
“I think it’s something we’re still talking about,” Hyde said. “We’ll continue to talk about it early on this offseason, but he looked so good in that relief role and it’s hard to ignore. It’s hard to ignore how comfortable he looked, pitching late in the game. His stuff is just exceptional.
“We’ll consider everything, but he looked great in that late-inning role.”
Harvey and Dillon Tate were top draft picks who made the transition from starting to relief this season.
“We want them to be comfortable,” Hyde said. “We want to do the best thing for the player.
“When you’re a reliever in the minor leagues, it can be kind of tough to develop pitches because you have short spurts instead of a start where you could have multiple innings where you can pitch to hitters, have work days in between. When you’re a reliever, not so much … Both Dillon and Hunter have taken to the relief role really well.”
Harvey said that he expected his offseason to be similar to last year’s, but acknowledged he’d like to remain as a reliever.
“I loved it,” Harvey said. “It’s been awesome. When we moved to the bullpen at first, it was kind of ‘let’s go figure this out,’ and it ended up working out pretty good.”
It was a job he didn’t apply for.
“I never thought about it,” Harvey said. “I started my whole life. I never once came out of the bullpen until this year. I’ve enjoyed it a lot. Either way, if I go back to starting or if I stay in the pen, I’ll be happy. I’ll pitch to the best of my ability, but I’ve enjoyed it a lot.”
Minor league winners: The Orioles announced the winners of their minor league awards, which will be presented Saturday. Norfolk infielder/outfielder Ryan Mountcastle was named the Brooks Robinson Minor League Player of the Year.
Mountcastle, who was named the International League’s Most Valuable Player, hit .312 with 25 home runs and 83 RBIs.
Bowie right-hander Mike Baumman and Delmarva right-hander Grayson Rodriguez are the Jim Palmer Co-Pitchers of the Year.
Baumann, who split the year between Bowie and Frederick, was 7-6 with a 2.98 ERA.
He pitched a no-hitter for the Baysox on July 16.
Rodriguez was 10-4 with a 2.68 ERA for the Shorebirds and was named the South Atlantic League’s Most Outstanding MLB Prospect.
Frederick left-hander Cameron Bishop is this year’s winner of the Elrod Hendricks Minor League Community Service Award.
Delmarva pitching coach Justin Ramsey is the winner of the Cal Ripken Sr. Player Development Award.
Area scout Thom Dreier, who signed Rodriguez, received the Jim Russo Scout of the Year award.
The Orioles will also recognize managers Buck Britton (Bowie), Kyle Moore (Delmarva) and Alan Mills (GCL Orioles).