Baltimore Orioles: Hunter Harvey Finds Himself One Step Away

BALTIMORE, MD - JUNE 11: General view as the Baltimore Orioles play against the Toronto Blue Jays in the fifth inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on June 11, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - JUNE 11: General view as the Baltimore Orioles play against the Toronto Blue Jays in the fifth inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on June 11, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit

Hunter Harvey is now one step away from making his much-anticipated debut with the Baltimore Orioles.

It’s almost impossible to believe, but way back in 2013, the Baltimore Orioles used their first-round pick on a right-handed high school pitcher out of North Carolina named Hunter Harvey. For more than six seasons, Harvey has battled, clawed, scrapped, and rehabbed his way through injury after injury after injury, refusing to have his career defined by an exorbitant list of injuries.

One of the more common questions during spring training over the last few years has asked if that season was finally going to be the year that Hunter Harvey stays healthy and lives up to his potential. We may finally have a different answer to that question, which usually ended in another unfortunate injury for the fireballer.

The 2019 season has been different for Hunter Harvey, in a surprising and pleasant way. Up until this weekend, Harvey had spent the entire season in Double-A with the Bowie Baysox. As first reported by David Hall of The Virginian-Pilot, Harvey has been promoted to the Triple-A Norfolk Tides where he will make his International League debut, likely Sunday or Monday. He replaces LHP Chris Lee who finds himself on the Injured List.

Update: Harvey made his AAA debut on Sunday. He threw two shutout innings while walking none, striking out one, and allowing no hits.

How has Hunter Harvey’s season been different? There are a few reasons, with the biggest reason being his health. Harvey made 14 total appearances, logging 59 innings with the Baysox this season. That’s a mere 4.2 innings short of his 63.2 combined innings from the 2016, 2017, and 2018 seasons. He didn’t pitch at all in 2015 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. I don’t want to jinx it, but Hunter Harvey really is healthy!

More from Birds Watcher

After his first 11 starts of the season, Harvey was 2-5 with a 6.12 ERA, 1.62 WHIP, and opponents were hitting .302 against him. He was healthy but wasn’t effective for long periods of time. When watching each of his starts, you saw flashes early on of Hunter Harvey, the dominant prospect well on his way to cracking the Baltimore Orioles starting rotation. His electric fastball and big, beautiful curveball frequently over-matched Eastern League hitters, which isn’t easy to do.

Once Harvey made it into the third/fourth innings, things changed. His curveball was no longer effective, he couldn’t hit his spots, and hitters sat and waited to feast on fastballs left over the plate. Casual evenings with MiLB TV loaded on the iPad to ease the pain of having to watch the major league Orioles quickly turned even more painful as Harvey’s starts would typically spiral out of control.

Have the Orioles found a solution? It’s way too early to tell, but early returns are highly positive. It wasn’t a mechanical change, but a position change for Hunter Harvey who now makes his home out in the bullpen. His last three outings in Bowie all came out of the pen, where he was nearly unhittable, literally,

In nine shutout relief innings (each outing went three innings), Harvey gave up just one hit while walking two and striking out 11. According to the Dunkin’ Donuts Park radar gun (home of the Hartford Yard Goats, Rockies AA affiliate), Harvey topped out at 100 mph, His bullpen stints dropped his ERA to 5.19, his WHIP to 1.42, and his batting average against to .274.

dark. Next. Orioles Add Two New Guys To Organization

With just 235 innings under his belt across seven minor league seasons (59 this season), don’t expect to see the Orioles push Harvey, even if he does find early success in his first taste of AAA baseball. However, it may be time to get excited about Hunter Harvey again.