Orioles 2013 first-round draft pick, pitcher Hunter Harvey, will make his second start for short-season, Single-A Aberdeen tonight at Lowell.
It is an important game for the IronBirds' playoff chances. Aberdeen is 33-29 and leading its division, but by just a 1/2 game over Brooklyn with 10 games to play in search of its first-ever playoff berth.
Last Tuesday night at Ripken Stadium, Harvey made a very strong Aberdeen debut. Harvey went 4 1/3 innings, throwing 77 pitches and gave up four hits (two infield hits) and one unearned run against Hudson Valley. He walked one and fanned five. His fastball sat at 93 and 94 mph touching 95 mph for a few pitches in the early innings.
After that game, Aberdeen pitching coach Alan Mills talked about the 18-year-old right-hander.
"I was very impressed," Mills said. "He wasn't in awe of the situation. He only had two three-ball counts in close to five innings. He threw well.
"He's very poised. It doesn't hurt that his dad played in the major leagues for a number of years. I'm sure he's had a lot of input from him. He looked very polished for a guy that I'm sure just went to the prom not long ago."
Through six pro outings, with the first five coming in the Gulf Coast League, Harvey has pitched 17 2/3 innings, allowing 14 hits and three runs (two earned) with three walks and 23 strikeouts, pitching to an ERA of 1.02.
"He stayed around the low to mid 90s the entire outing and it was effortless," Mills said. "Had a good breaking ball. He threw well.
"As far as changing anything. I'm not going to touch him, he is fine. He showed me tonight that he is a competitor."
Harvey already has what scouts would call a plus fastball and plus curveball. He needs to improve his changeup and threw a couple in that outing last week. Mills was asked what Harvey needs to do to improve that pitch?
"He's got to throw it," Mills said. "But, throwing a changeup just for the sake of throwing it, kind of goes against pitching. You learn how to use it in certain situations. Just throwing to throw it, helps the development, but at the same time you want to understand how to use it," he said.
Aberdeen manager Matt Merullo talked about Harvey in Aberdeen after that outing last week.
Harvey tonight: Harvey came out of the game tonight in the last of the fourth at Lowell and a run scored that was charged to him after he relieved.
Harvey's final line: 3 1/3 IP, 6 hits, 3 R-ER, 2 walks, 5 strikeouts.
Lowell has a 3-2 lead in that game in the fourth.