O’s draft picks Harvey, Hart officially sign, hold press conference at Camden Yards

The Orioles just concluded a press conference at Camden Yards to officially announce the signings of their top two draft picks, high school pitcher Hunter Harvey and high school outfielder Josh Hart. Both have completed their physicals and officially signed with the club.

They attended the game here last night and today put on O’s jerseys at the press conference. Pretty heady stuff for two kids just out of high school and about to begin their pro careers.

“I love it. The fans, the atmosphere, everything about Camden Yards is phenomenal,” Hart said. “It’s a privilege to be drafted by this great organization. This has been a great day to sign my contract.”

“It’s been real amazing (being here),” Harvey said. “A once-in-a-lifetime experience really. Really enjoying it. Signing my professional contract is one of the most exciting days of my life.”

The 22nd overall pick in the draft, Harvey’s deal was believed to be right at the slot value for that pick of $1,947,600. Harvey is a right-hander from Bandys High School in Catawba, N.C., and was rated by Baseball America as the 33rd-best overall player in the draft. His senior year, he went 8-0 with an ERA of 0.38. Over 54 2/3 innings, he gave up just two extra-base hits, both doubles, and fanned 116.

HartHarveyPresserTall.jpgHart agreed to a signing bonus of $1.45 million, just under the slot value of $1,508,600 for that pick.

Hart was taken out of Parkview High in Lilburn, Ga., with the 37th overall selection in the competitive balance round A that followed the first round. The 6-foot-2, 180-pound lefty batter and thrower hit .449 with 18 extra-base hits, including five homers, along with 29 RBIs and 34 steals in 36 attempts over 36 games.

Both players are expected to begin their careers in the Gulf Coast League.

So what will their progression through the minors be like and how soon could they maybe return to Camden Yards as a player?

“That all depends how well they play. They have all the skills and natural ability to be good major league players,” Orioles vice president Dan Duquette said.

“They are both going to start out in rookie league, down in Sarasota and get their feet on the ground. I expect they’ll go to the winter instructional league.

“As you can see, they are very well poised. They have good foundations and they’ll come along as they develop the skills needed to be big leaguers.”

O’s scouting director Gary Rajsich introduced the players.

“Hunter, as you can see, has a real projectable body with a very fast arm, and for an 18-year-old, advanced delivery and mechanics,” Rajsich said. “We think he has a chance to be a frontline starter down the road.

“Josh is an exciting, multi-tool player. He has that unique combination of tools and instincts. On any given day, he’ll do something to impact your ballclub. We think he has a chance to hit in the top of the order and play center field, and those guys are rare.”

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