SARASOTA, Fla. – Hunter Harvey is no stranger to the life of a professional baseball player.
The consensus No. 2 prospect in the Baltimore Orioles’ organization is the son of former major-league closer Bryan Harvey.
Thanks to his father, Hunter showed up to big-league camp this year knowing exactly how to carry himself.
“[My dad] just said, ‘stay in your lane. You’re the young guy so just do what you’re told to do and everything will be good,’” said Harvey during an interview at Ed Smith Stadium.
Harvey is also the brother of Kris Harvey, an ex-minor leaguer who played for eight seasons in the Florida Marlins and Atlanta Braves’ organizations.
“My brother, he’s a pretty big help, too,” said the six-foot-four, right-handed pitcher. “He didn’t make it [to the big leagues], so it’s been kind of hard on him, but he’s shared some knowledge to help me out.”
As the 22nd overall pick of Baltimore in the 2013 Rule 4 Draft, Harvey reported to the Gulf Coast League Orioles where he made five starts before being promoted to the Aberdeen IronBirds.
Too young to remember his dad as a pro, life on the road was something that the Catawba, N.C., native experienced as a 12 year old.
“(I never got any experience around) big-league clubhouses, but my dad [was a pitching coach] in the minor leagues for two years,” remembers Harvey. “The first year, (2007 with Asheville), I stayed with him for a month, rode the bus, and got to do everything he did.”
As a member of the single-A Delmarva Shorebirds last year, the Bandys High School graduate posted an impressive 3.18 earned-run average. He also accumulated 106 strikeouts over 87.2 innings pitched.
“People say you can conserve your arm or throw less pitches if you try to pitch to contact,” said Harvey. “But I’ve always thought, ‘I don’t want these guys touching anything I’ve got.’
“I just go right at them. If they hit it, they hit it. But in my mind I’m thinking, ‘I’m going to strike you out.’”
This aggressive mentality, coupled with a fastball that averages 95 m.p.h., has aided Harvey in his meteoric rise through the system.
The 2012 Catawba Valley 2A Baseball Player of the Year knows he needs to add to his arsenal in order to keep progressing at this rate.
“I haven’t been a big changeup guy, but I know I have to have that to pitch in the big leagues one day,” said the 20th ranked prospect according to Baseball Prospectus.
“I’ve been talking to [pitchers Chris] Tillman and [Kevin] Gausman and other guys that have good changeups, trying to figure out their thought process on throwing it and how they do it.”
In 2015 the 20 year old hopes to break camp with double-A, and move one step closer to achieving his lifelong dream.
“I’d like to start in Bowie,” said Harvey. “That would be a huge jump.
“I’ve always been told that double-A is knocking on the door of the big leagues.”
Follow Rob Marsiglio @rob_siglio