The Baltimore Orioles started their number four prospect, Hunter Harvey, in their Spring Training matchup against the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday.
Harvey, 23, had a line of two innings pitched, allowing three hits, one earned run, one walk and striking out three batters. His fastball often looked crisp, topping out at 95 mph. He also used some breaking pitches, mixing in a curve and changeup.
Though the stat line may not be the most impressive, Harvey pitched against major league-caliber players, after missing quite a bit of time due to injuries (Tommy John surgery and a broken leg). Denard Span and Kevin Kiermaier led off in the bottom of the first with two back-to-back singles. Harvey settled in and made solid pitches.
Is he ready for the big leagues?
Looking at his stats, Harvey has been quite impressive when he has gotten to pitch in the minors. Through four seasons in the minor leagues, Harvey has pitched to a 7-8 record, 2.56 ERA and 1.115 WHIP in 144.1 innings pitched between short-season A Aberdeen and low-A Delmarva. With stats like those, it’ll be assumed that Harvey will move on to the next level of the minor league for sure. Whether it is high-A Frederick or Double-A Bowie is currently unknown.
What is known that Harvey most likely won’t make the Orioles rotation in Spring Training. Despite looking solid in one game, it isn’t enough to book him a spot on the major league club. If he continues to pitch well after he goes to the minors, Harvey will make it a hard decision for Buck Showalter and company to keep him in the minors for the entire season.
One thing that Harvey will have to work on is adding another pitch. With just three pitches (fastball, changeup and curveball), major league batters will figure him out quickly if all three pitches aren’t exceptional. Harvey has the pedigree to be one of the better Orioles rookie pitchers in memory, being the son of former relief pitcher Bryan Harvey and he has the poise of his father.
Though he doesn’t have a realistic shot of making the Opening Day roster, he definitely could make it to the big leagues in 2018, barring injury.
(Photo Credit: AP)