The Baltimore Orioles still only have two pitchers in the starting rotation: Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy.
And, after the Baltimore Orioles minicamp, it looks like this is still the case.
Despite not filling any rotation spots with the three-day camp, there are a few things that appear to be certain. And, one involves pitching prospect Hunter Harvey and that he needs to be treated with extreme care.
Harvey is a talented 23-year-old pitcher who has spent all of his time in the Orioles minor league system. He was drafted by the Orioles in the first round in 2013; he was fresh out of high school.
Since being drafted, he has only started in 38 games, due to injuries. He has yet to make pitch higher than A-ball. In 2016 and 2017, he has only pitched 31.1 innings. That’s it. Apparently, he injuries very easily. His injuries happened after Tommy John surgery in 2015. Good thing he doesn’t play a contact sport.
So, the Orioles need starting pitchers and Harvey just happens to be one. He also happens to belong to the Orioles organization and he is breathing. But, this doesn’t mean that he should be brought up to pitch.
According to Jon Meoli with the Baltimore Sun, the Orioles are tempted by his talent. Meoli wrote that despite the temptation, the O’s should be patient with him. He said:
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"“The Orioles have gone pretty far down the recovery road and been cautious with Harvey at every step of the way. Pushing him too hard this year could undo a lot of that.”"
Hopefully, this will be the case. Harvey is all of 175 pounds, yet stands 6’3. Consider Chris Sale, who is three inches taller and five pounds heavier. It is amazing that so much velocity and talent comes from a ballplayer built like that.
But, Harvey can throw. According to Fangraphs, Harvey can hit speeds up to 97 MPH. But, due to his injuries – “flexor-mass strain, fractured fibula, hernia surgery” – he hasn’t had much time to show off.
Putting a young pitcher into a Major League situation that he isn’t ready for can be detrimental to his development. With that many injuries and that little amount of time on the mound, the Orioles could be playing with fire. Although by the age of 23, a minor league pitcher with the skills that he has should already be in the Majors, it just doesn’t seem like Harvey is ready.
He shouldn’t be put on the mound in Baltimore. Not until he throws consistently without injuries and can see time in Double-A and Triple-A. He needs to face hitters, at least at the high minor league levels. And, he needs to do it without injuring himself.