Baby Birdland's 2017 Mid-Season Top 15 Baltimore Orioles' Prospects: #8 RHP Hunter Harvey

By Contributing Writer: Nick Stevens

Just as we did after the conclusion of the 2016 season, the writers here at Baby Birdland, as well as our primary photo supplier Patrick Cavey, all submitted a Top 15 list and we averaged those lists together to get our all encompassing Baltimore Orioles Top 15 Prospects list. Continuing on with our in-depth look at each of the Top 15 Orioles’ prospects, we have reached #8, right-handed pitcher Hunter Harvey.

Photo: Patrick Cavey

Continuing on with our in-depth look at each of the Top 15 Orioles’ prospects, we have reached #8, RHP Hunter Harvey. 

Harvey, the Orioles’ first round pick in the 2013 MLB Draft, remains steady on our Top 15 list at #8, despite coming off Tommy John surgery 12 months ago. The seemingly never-aging Hunter Harvey (22 years old) is currently with the Gulf Coast League Orioles as part of the Orioles’ rehab plan to have him finish the season with Low-A Delmarva. In his two appearances, Harvey has gone two innings while giving up three hits and striking out two to go with his zero runs or walks allowed.

There is no question that, when healthy, Harvey is one of the better young arms in the game today. He possesses a plus-fastball (of which he has great command), an elite 11-5 curveball, and a changeup that may not be flashy, but still grades as a major league caliber pitch. 

In 126.2 career minor league innings, Harvey has recorded 158 strikeouts and a 48 walks. His one “full” season was in 2014 with the Delmarva Shorebirds, where Harvey worked 10.88 strikeouts per 9 innings and allowed opposing hitters to bat just .209. 

The Orioles’ front office remains very high on Harvey , as does nearly every writer and scout that ranks Orioles’ prospects. Other than having stuff that still ranks well above-average, Harvey’s arm was used very little in his high school days. He avoided extensive summer ball leagues and showcases, a strategy being used more by young pitchers. 

Buck Showalter has said Harvey will pitch once per week from here on out and gradually move up the farm system before the end of the summer. He will then take the full offseason to rest and train, instead of pitching in the Arizona Fall League. If Harvey can rebound from Tommy John and put together a solid 2018 campaign (most likely with the Bowie Baysox), the patience could pay huge dividends for the Orioles and  their fans.

Keep in mind, the Orioles will have to use a spot on the 40-man roster for Harvey next season to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft. Showalter emphasized that Harvey is not a candidate to make the major league ball club, though. 

Personally, I will have to see the kid pitch. While I am skeptical, I do get a little giddy thinking about the best case scenario. Imagine a starting rotation that includes a  fully developed Hunter Harvey, DL Hall, Cody Sedlock, Keegan Akin, and Brenan Hanifee. 

Follow along with @BabyBirdland as we keep you updated on Harvey’s rehab performances for the remainder of the summer.

Of the five lists submitted by Baby Birdland writers, Harvey appeared on four of them and was ranked as high as 5th.

Be sure to like Baby Birdland on FacebookGoogle+ and follow our Twitter account!