By Contributing Writer: Nick Stevens
This Wednesday evening in Aberdeen, fans were treated to Hunter Harvey’s first start under stadium lights since July 16, 2016. The two-inning performance was brief, but provided fans and scouts with a glimpse of the firepower Harvey can bring to the Baltimore Orioles.
Photo: Patrick Cavey
Let me start out by saying that this was the first time I have seen Harvey pitch live. With only 132 innings under his belt since being selected in the first round of the 2013 draft due to a long list of injuries, I expected very little out Hunter. After Wednesday’s performance, I have a completely different view of Harvey and his potential.
Toeing the rubber against the Mahoning Valley Scrappers (Cleveland Indians affiliate), Harvey pitched two innings, surrendered no hits or runs, walked three, and struck out three. He hit 97 on the radar gun twice and showed great ability to work both sides of the plate to left and right-handed hitters.
Despite telling reporters that he primarily needs to work on his confidence and command of his secondary pitches, Harvey looked to be in total control the game. He only threw a small handful of offspeed pitches, but Mahoning Valley hitters were well in front of every one of them.
The three walks on his stat line are highly misleading. After walking three of the first four hitters, Aberdeen manager Kevin Bradshaw walked out to the mound and waited until the home plate umpire came to break up the meeting. Waiting for umpire, Kyle Nichol, were a few expletives from Bradshaw in response to the tight strike zone. The next two Scrapper hitters would go down swinging on Harvey fastballs.
In his postgame comments, Harvey was a true professional, blaming the first inning performance on adrenaline and adjusting to pitching under the lights (not to mention Aberdeen is right in the thick of a race to the playoffs). He made no comments about the officiating and never looked rattled, even with bases loaded and only one out on the board.
Expect to see Harvey make one more start for the Ironbirds next week as he progresses well after Tommy John surgery. As I mentioned in a previous piece, (Harvey #8 on Baby Birdland's Top Prospect List) the Orioles’ front office wants Harvey to end the season in Frederick before taking the full offseason to rest and return to normal.
If you cannot make it to Aberdeen to see the Hunter Harvey Comeback Tour, stay connected to @BabyBirdland, @CoachNick_14, and @CABoemmelJR on Twitter for updates on Harvey and the rest of the Baby Birds!
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