When the All-Star Futures Game is played later today at 5 p.m. at Target Field in Minnesota, the Orioles will be represented by Single-A Delmarva pitcher Hunter Harvey on Team USA, and Double-A Bowie outfielder Dariel Alvarez on the World Team.
Harvey is scheduled to pitch the fourth inning for Team USA, and Alvarez is starting in right field and batting sixth for the World Team.
Harvey is 6-4 with a 3.01 ERA over 15 starts for Delmarva. In 77 2/3 innings he has allowed 56 hits with 32 walks, 93 strikeouts and a .202 batting average against. Over his last three starts, Harvey is 3-0 with a 2.60 ERA.
The 19-year-old right-hander was the Orioles’ 2013 first round draft pick. He had a rough two-start stretch in early June where he gave up 12 runs in 6 2/3 innings. In his other 13 starts he has an ERA of 1.90.
Harvey ranks first in the South Atlantic League in average against, fifth in strikeouts and ninth in ERA.
The 25-year-old Alvarez has had a big season for Bowie, batting .309 in 91 games with 20 doubles, one triple, 14 homers and 68 RBIs. Alvarez, who bats mostly cleanup for the Baysox, has an .332 on-base percentage, .487 slugging percentage and a .819 OPS. He hits .360 against left-handed pitching and .330 with runners in scoring position.
Alvarez ranks first in the Eastern League in hits, third in RBIs and fourth in total bases. He has been named to play in the Eastern League All-Star Game in Altoona, Pa. on Wednesday.
Harvey is the Orioles’ No. 4 prospect as ranked by Baseball America and Alvarez is the O’s No. 15 prospect in the pre-season ratings.
Alvarez, a native of Cuba, was signed by the Orioles to an $800,000 contract in July of 2013. He played for Camaguey in the Cuban League from 2007-11 and Tuxpan in Mexico in 2012
Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette talked about Harvey and Alvarez playing today.
“Those are two good reps for us in the Futures Game,” Duquette said. “Alvarez has shown the capability to hit for power and drive in runs. He can steal an occasional base and his arm is a real asset in the outfield and he has shown he can play center field capably.
“Hunter has had a good year. He’s developed a changeup and is a good competitor with good control. He distinguished himself in the South Atlantic League All-Star Game. He was the starting pitcher down there in Hickory. He was a hometown hero that night. He’s right on schedule. We’re proud to have those two guys there.”
Duquette said Harvey has made progress developing a changeup this season.
“He never really needed a changeup in amateur ball,” Duquette said. “It’s a new pitch for him. He’s continuing to develop that and work on all his pitches, his command, repeating his delivery. He’s got good pitching instincts.”
Duquette was happy that the Orioles got one player on both the USA and World Team rosters.
“I think it’s important that we’re active and sign some good players on the international market, and (scouting director) Gary Rajsich and his scouts have done a good job with the draft,” he said.
I asked Duquette if Alvarez and/or Harvey are being considered for promotions in the weeks ahead.
“When a guy has a good year, you can always look for opportunities to promote them,” Duquette said. “In Alvarez’s case, he got some experience last year at Double-A. He’s gotten over 400 plate appearances (at that level) so we can look for some other opportunities for him.
“Harvey is doing well in the South Atlantic League. I think it’s important for him to go through a full season and be successful. We’ll see, he’s doing fine there right now.”
Duquette mentioned Single-A Frederick outfielder Mike Yastrzemski and Double-A Bowie first baseman Christian Walker as other players in the O’s farm who could have been selected for the Futures Game.
Orioles in the Futures Game over the last six years:
2008 - Jake Arrieta (U.S.)
2009 - Brian Matusz (U.S.), Chris Tillman (U.S.)
2010 - Zach Britton (U.S.)
2011 - Manny Machado (U.S.), Jonathan Schoop (World)
2012 - Manny Machado (U.S.), Dylan Bundy (U.S.)
2013 - Eduardo Rodriguez (World), Henry Urrutia (World), Christian Walker (U.S.)