Minor league notes on Hunter Harvey, Mychal Givens and Gary Kendall

It was just one outing but it was a dominating outing, one that gets your attention.

Hunter Harvey, the Orioles 2013 first-round pick simply overmatched the first-place Gulf Coast League Red Sox last Thursday in his third pro outing.

Over three hitless and shutout innings, Harvey walked one and fanned eight batters. He struck out the side in the first and third innings.

The 22nd overall pick in June out of a North Carolina high school, Harvey threw 44 pitches and blew fastballs between 92 and 94 mph by the Red Sox hitters. He threw 11 curveballs, getting swings and misses on eight of them. He even mixed in a few changeups.

The 18-year-old right-hander is being slowly stretched out innings-wise. He threw one inning in his first outing, two in his second and then three last week. He is likely headed for four and five-inning outings coming up. Right now the Orioles have Harvey throwing two bullpen side sessions between game appearances.

He’s already shown the excellent aptitude for pitching and good makeup the Orioles were confident he had, in addition to two very solid pitches. For now he’s staying with the GCL O’s, but it’s possible he’ll be sent to short-season Single-A Aberdeen before this season ends.

Mychal Givens’ conversion from infielder to the mound is going well this year at Single-A Delmarva. The 23-year-old right-hander is 2-2 with a 3.60 ERA and two saves. Over 30 innings, he has allowed 18 hits with 15 walks, 23 strikeouts and a .175 batting average against.

The second-round pick in 2009 was an infielder for three seasons in the organization before moving to the mound this season.

I asked O’s director of player development Brian Graham to provide an update on Givens.

“We’ve been very conservative with Givens because of his transition,” Graham said. “We’ve limited his innings, we’ve limited his outings and given him plenty of time between outings.

“This whole year is just about getting through the season healthy, maintaining his velocity and getting some experience.”

Givens, who has pitched to an ERA of 1.62 over his past 10 games, has shown a low to mid 90s fastball to go with a sinker and slider.

“When you transition a guy to the mound, that first season the most important thing is health,” Graham said. “Let’s get him through the season healthy and let his arm develop as a pitcher. That is probably the most important thing.”

Does Graham see Givens staying as a bullpen guy?

“Absolutely, 100 percent. Most conversion guys are relievers,” he said. “It’s difficult to take a conversion guy and make him a starter.”

Double-A Bowie manager Gary Kendall is going to serve as a manager in the Arizona Fall League starting Oct. 8. Kendall will manage the Surprise Saquaros with players from the Orioles along with prospects from Boston, Cleveland, Milwaukee and Texas.

In his 14th year in the organization and third as Bowie skipper, Kendall, a Baltimore-native is among the most respected staff members on the O’s farm. An excellent teacher, he’s someone that has had a positive impact on a lot of players over the years but never seeks the limelight.

Gary Allenson was the last member of the O’s staff to manage in the AFL.

“That is a tremendous opportunity,” Graham said. “It will be the best experience of his professional baseball career. Gary is going out to a high profile situation where he will manage players from five teams, with some of the best players in baseball that are not in big leagues.

“Gary is a grinder. Gary has great passion, he loves the game,” Graham said. “He loves to study the game and he is a very good baseball guy. He knows every aspect of the game.

He understands how to manage people. He is one of those guys that loves coming to the ballpark and he loves the Orioles. He is a die-hard Oriole.”

Saturday on MASN: I was Tom Davis’ guest on MASN’s “O’s Xtra” pregame show and we talked about these players and some other minor league topics on the show. Click here to watch that segment.

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