Right-hander Hunter Harvey, drafted by the Orioles in the first round tonight, said he doesn’t expect to have any drawn-out contract negotiations and hopes to start his pro career soon.
“I think it will be a very quick process,” he said. “I’ve been waiting for this moment my whole life and now it’s finally here. I don’t want to mess around, I’m kind of ready to go start playing.”
But when the night began, Harvey didn’t figure it would end with him taken by Baltimore.
“It was a pretty big surprise, I wasn’t really expecting that,” he said. “Just got off the phone with my agent, I mean 20 seconds before they picked me, and he felt there was a chance I could go to the Orioles, but not really sure. He felt I would go to Texas. When they said my name, I went nuts. It was a great feeling.”
After going 7-0 with an ERA of 1.81 as a junior, Harvey went 8-0 with an ERA of 0.38 for Bandys High School in Catawba, N.C., this season. Over 54 2/3 innings, he fanned 116 batters.
“Think I sat 91 to 95 (mph), I got up a little higher than that,” Harvey said about his velocity. “I didn’t get to use my changeup much, I was mainly fastball-curveball. The talent wasn’t as high as it’s going to be at the next level, so I have to work on my changeup more and get that going.
“I hope to stay as a starter. If they decided to put me in as a closer, that would be fine with me, just to get to the big leagues, but (being) a starter would be nice.”
Harvey, who has a brother in the Pirates system, was ranked as the draft’s 33rd-best prospect and seventh best right-hander by Baseball America. What does he feel he needs to improve on?
“Just mixing up my pitches a little more,” he said. “It’s really easy for me to overpower people with my fastball at my high school level, but I’ve seen the talent I am going to be facing. I know what I have to do to be a winner. I’ve seen all the work they have to put in in the minor leagues and you have to work your butt off.”
Now he joins pitchers Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman as hurlers drafted in round one in the last few years by the Orioles.
“I’m very excited,” Harvey said. “They are very good pitchers and hopefully I’ll have a chance to pitch with them in the big leagues soon. Should have a pretty good rotation up there in Baltimore.”